NEW YORK -- Move over, Kobe Bryant. Move over, Bernard King.
Carmelo Anthony scored a career-high 62 points on Friday night to set the Knicks' single-game scoring record, previously held by King (60). Anthony also set the Madison Square Garden scoring record, which was previously held by Bryant (61).
Anthony seemed to take a season's worth of frustration out on the Charlotte Bobcats. He had 20 points in the first quarter, a career-high 37 at halftime (including a runner from halfcourt at the buzzer) and he opened the second half by hitting his first five shots.
The only suspense left in the game was Anthony's overall point total.
He broke his career mark of 50 with a layup with 3:54 to go in the third quarter. He broke Michael Jordan's mark of 55 points with a free throw at the 1:25 mark of the third. Through three quarters, Anthony was an eye-popping 22-for-30 from the floor and had 56 points.
He scored points No. 61 and 62 on a spin move away from a Charlotte double-team. He leaned toward the goal and let the ball go with hands in his face. It hit the rim twice and fell in.
Melo finished 23-for-35 from the floor. He hit six of his 11 3-point attempts and added 13 rebounds.
He had the highest scoring night in the NBA since Bryant hung 81 points on the Raptors in 2006 and scored 65 points a season later.
A message from the MSG faithful: Knicks coach Mike Woodson took Anthony out of the game after he hit his final basket. The crowd delivered a rousing ovation and later chanted "We want Melo!" It was a call for him to return to the floor and return to New York after this season.
Anthony will opt out of his contract at the end of the season and test free agency.
Anthony's heroics couldn't have come at a better time for New York. The Knicks had lost five straight entering play Friday. The losing streak led to renewed speculation about Woodson's job security. Players had publicly questioned their coach's defensive schemes. Anthony openly questioned his team's fight after a loss to Brooklyn.
But, for one night, all of that was forgotten. Anthony spent the final seven minutes of the game on the bench, soaking in the scene, surrounded by his teammates.
Smith sizzles: J.R. Smith has struggled with consistency throughout the season but he seemed to thrive off Anthony's energy on Friday. The Knicks' sixth man had 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting and hit three of four 3s.
Big help: With Andrea Bargnani out, Cole Aldrich and Jeremy Tyler filled the void off the bench for New York (16-27). Tyler had eight points, five rebounds and two blocks in 22 minutes. Aldrich had eight rebounds in 15 minutes.
What's next: The Knicks play the Lakers on Sunday.
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