by Navindra Persaud
Sixty-two points and 13 rebounds. Those were the stats of New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony Friday night after defeating the Charlotte Bobcats 125-96. The performance was an absolute privilege to watch and solidifies Anthony as one of the best scorers in the NBA.
It has been five years since Kobe Bryant broke the record for a single game scoring performance at Madison Square Garden with 61 points, besting former Knicks legend Bernard King’s 60 scored in 1984. Anthony shot 23-35 in his conquest, as he brought the MSG record back to the Knicks while besting his previous single game high of 50, done three separate times.
Anthony went to work from all ends of the court, even hitting a buzzer beater from half court to put a seal on the first half of the game. After that shot went in I was convinced that he was going to be unstoppable on this night. He played with intensity and seemed to be in a zone of his own. In post-game interviews Anthony, as well as his teammates, mentioned this zone and it was clear that Anthony’s teammates enjoyed witnessing a part of New York basketball greatness that has been missing for years.
Anthony’s performance was reminiscent of Kobe Bryant’s 81 points that he scored on the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006. It was painful to watch Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist match-up against Anthony, as Anthony was able to score 40 percent of his points while being defended by MKG. There was nothing that the Bobcats could do to disrupt Anthony’s concentration, just as the Raptors struggled to do against Bryant when he completely outperformed all the players on the court that day.
Year after year, New York Knicks fans have been looking for a light on their team and last Friday, Carmelo lit the way with his incredible performance. Surprisingly, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson pulled Anthony out of the game with 7:18 remaining in the fourth quarter. Teammate Iman Shumpert expressed his reluctance to even go into the game for the flaming hot hand of Anthony. Shumpert and the rest of his team had watched in awe as they seemed to realize that they were witnessing something special.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said Anthony in his post-game interview, “Just to come in and lock in the way we did, the way I did. My teammates helped me, it helped that I made shots tonight too,” referring to the 66 percent shooting he had from the field.
The Knicks snapped a five-game losing streak with that desperately needed win and Anthony somewhat quieted all of the talk of Kevin Durant, who scored 54 points (the highest scoring game in the NBA this season until Anthony’s performance) against the Golden State Warriors the week before.
Though the Knicks have not been heavy in the talks of playoff contention and sit eleventh overall in the Eastern Conference, fans can more than appreciate what Anthony has brought to the team since the trade with the Nuggets in 2011.
I can only imagine what the game would have been like had Anthony been allowed to stay the course. A 70 point game wasn’t inconceivable. Or maybe he could have completely gone off in the final minutes and topped Bryant’s 81?
We may never know what could have happened, but Anthony is one of those special players who have yet to win a championship like his friends and fellow draft companions Lebron James and Dwayne Wade. He is an excellent talent and has shown much growth since playing with the Denver Nuggets. Although I’m not a Carmelo Anthony fan you cannot help but hope that one day his hard work will pay off.
But for right now, sports fans have got to appreciate and give credit to Anthony after the power performance that left fans at Madison Square garden on their feet and screaming for more.