Carmelo Anthony scores 37 against Wizards after Jared Dudley's critique

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Saying he circled this game on his calendar, Carmelo Anthony had a point to prove to Washington's Jared Dudley that he is not the most overrated player in the NBA.

Dudley said back in May that the New York Knicks star was overrated because of his inability to go deep into the playoffs. He would later apologize but apparently that apology fell on deaf ears as Anthony exploded for a season-high 37 points to help the spoil the Wizards' home opener, 117-110, at the Verizon Center.

"Oh yeah, it got back to me," Anthony said when asked about Dudley's comments. "Definitely got back to me. I might not look at it and read all that stuff but it gets back to me."

Anthony came into this game struggling to find his rhythm, shooting just 32.6 percent from the field and making only 1 of 12 3-point shots in his first two games. But he got hot quickly against Washington, burying six of his first eight shots and scoring 18 by halftime.

With 4:58 left in the second quarter, Anthony and Dudley were assessed double technical fouls. And down the stretch, Anthony was clutch, scoring 11 of his points in the fourth including burying a go-ahead 21-footer on Dudley to give the Knicks a 108-106 lead with 1:35 remaining.

"I mean it becomes competitive at that point, you just want to go out there and show what you are made out of," Anthony said when asked about the technicals and Dudley guarding him late. "Tonight is one of those nights. It had nothing really to do with him but this was a game that I circled on my calendar. I'll see him three more times."

Appearing on ESPN radio back in late May, Dudley was asked who the most overrated player in the NBA is.

"The reason I say Carmelo is because Carmelo is viewed as a top-five player, he's viewed in the NBA as a top-five," Dudley said then. "Carmelo, he has the talent to be able to facilitate. The triangle should fit him to where he's got to make guys better, and defensively he's got to take it to the next level up."

"Carmelo, you gotta get out, you gotta get out the first, second round," Dudley added. "You gotta get your team to the playoffs. LeBron [James] with that [Knicks'] roster... he would have got them to the playoffs, he would have got them to at least the eighth seed. He's not LeBron, he doesn't have to be."

Dudley later apologized on ESPN radio and said, "I shouldn't have said that, that was my fault for saying that because it's not the truth."

Anthony, though, did not forget.

"It wasn't really nothing kind of personal against him," Anthony said when asked if he thought about the comment before making his go-ahead shot over Dudley. "I just knew what was said in the offseason. So that was in the back of my mind."