Pacers rally to beat Kings in overtime.
There were 13 games on the NBA schedule on Friday night, with Carmelo Anthony stealing the headlines with his 62-point night for the New York Knicks.
Anthony made 23 of 35 shots as he scored a career-high 62 points to break the franchise and current Madison Square Garden records, as the Knicks secured a 125-96 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
“When I made the shot at the half, I told myself the zone was there,” Anthony said.
The shot in question was a leap from the centre of the court to beat the half-time buzzer, while he even had time to add 13 rebounds to his night’s work.
In a season full of disappointment and the potential of a lack of playoff basketball, Anthony gave the Knicks fans a reason to smile with his performance on Friday, as he continues to face questions over whether or not he will test free agency this summer.
The 29-year-old took on the extra responsibility after Andrea Bargnani joined Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin in the treatment room, and will hope that he can continue to lead the Knicks forward and improve on their 16-27 record.
“I made history tonight, with the performance, but just to be a part of that group of people, like I said, there’s only a small group of people that knows what that zone feels like and tonight I was one of them,” he added.
Elsewhere, the Indiana Pacers kept up their relentless push for the top seed in the Eastern Conference with an overtime win over the Sacramento Kings.
Paul George scored eight of his 36 points in overtime to reignite talks of being a genuine MVP candidate, as the Pacers rallied to improve to 34-8 for the season.
Marcus Thornton had 42 points while Isaiah Thomas added 38 points for the hosts who were missing both Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins through injury.
The Brooklyn Nets edged a close game against the Dallas Mavericks to improve to 9-1 in January as their season goes from strength to strength with Mirza Teletovic going for 34 points, while the Washington Wizards picked up an impressive win on the road in Phoenix.
Over in the Western Conference, both the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs picked up wins, with the former even able to rest Kevin Durant in the victory over the Boston Celtics.
It was the first time that both Durant and Russell Westbrook were sitting out since the franchise moved to Oklahoma City, but it didn’t matter for coach Scott Brooks who had 21 points and seven rebounds from Serge Ibaka while Jeremy Lamb (19) and Reggie Jackson (14) contributed too.
Meanwhile, it was a simple win for the Spurs too as Tim Duncan put up 17 points and 16 rebounds while Boris Diaw led with 21 points and Patty Mills had a career-high six 3-pointers with 18 points.
Coach Gregg Popovich conceded after the game that it was little fun beating former assistant coach Mike Budenholzer, and he was able to rest his regulars for much of the second half such was their lead.
Both teams were suffering from injuries as Jeff Teague sustained an ankle sprain to join Antic and Carroll on the sidelines along with Al Horford, while Popovich was without Leonard, Splitter and Green.
Elsewhere, in perhaps the game of the night, the Minnesota Timberwolves finally overcame their struggles in close games with a 121-120 win over the Golden State Warriors.
After losing 11 straight games decided by four points or fewer, Kevin Martin stepped up with 8.4 seconds left to push the visitors ahead, as Kevin Love led the way with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists.
The Timberwolves are now 21-21 for the season, while the Warriors slip to 26-18 despite a 33-point night from point guard Stephen Curry.
Los Angeles Lakers 105-114 Orlando Magic
Toronto Raptors 104-95 Philadelphia 76ers
San Antonio Spurs 105-79 Atlanta Hawks
Oklahoma City Thunder 101-83 Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks 106-107 Brooklyn Nets
Milwaukee Bucks 78-93 Cleveland Cavaliers
New Orleans Pelicans 103-101 Detroit Pistons
Charlotte Bobcats 96-125 New York Knicks
Los Angeles Clippers 112-95 Chicago Bulls
Memphis Grizzlies 88-87 Houston Rockets
Washington Wizards 101-95 Phoenix Suns
Indiana Pacers 116-111 Sacramento Kings
Minnesota Timberwolves 121-120 Golden State Warriors