New York small forward toasts the Charlotte defence at Madison Square Garden.
Carmelo Anthony poured in a Knicks-record 62 points on Friday as New York emphatically ended a five-game NBA losing streak with a 125-96 win over Charlotte Bobcats.
Anthony’s career-high night saw him sink 23 of 35 attempts from the field, six of 11 from three-point range and all 10 of his efforts from the free-throw line in 39 minutes on the floor. He also grabbed 13 rebounds.
He didn’t have any assists — but he didn’t have any turnovers.
“I came in taking one possession at a time,” Anthony said. “I didn’t know I was going to have this kind of performance. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Anthony broke Bernard King’s previous franchise record of 60 points set on Christmas Day in 1984.
Anthony’s performance was also the highest-scoring game by a player at the current incarnation of Madison Square Garden — better than the 61 scored by Kobe Bryant in leading the Lakers to a 126-117 victory over the Knicks in February 2009.
Anthony’s sparkling 62 was also the most points for a player in an NBA game since Bryant scored 65 in a Lakers’ win over Portland on March 16, 2007.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant had posted this season’s previous highest-scoring game, with 54 points against Golden State last week.
J.R. Smith finished a distant second among Knicks players with 14 points and Raymond Felton added 11 as New York shook off the absence of Italian forward Andrea Bargnani, who tore a ligament in his left elbow during Wednesday’s home loss to Philadelphia.
Anthony had 20 points in the first quarter, 17 in the second and 19 in the third.
New York took a 101-66 lead into the final period and he broke King’s franchise scoring record with 7:23 to play with a basket that gave New York a 109-72 lead.
Not long after, he left the court to a thunderous ovation.
“It was jaw-dropping, man,” teammate Iman Shumpert said. “We didn’t know what to do. It was just, ‘Get your popcorn and watch.'”
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said: “Everything he threw up was going in.”
New York are facing the prospect of missing the playoffs — which would be a first for Anthony in his NBA career. Amid the team’s struggles, he has faced plenty of questions about his future in New York.
Their recent five-game losing streak included dropping the first three games of their current eight-game homestand, and Woodson acknowledged that Anthony’s exploits were a much-needed boost.
“I never thought coming into this season that we would have the record we have at home,” Woodson said. “To break our five-game losing streak and the way we did it with Melo, that was special.”