The New York Knicks have been looking for a bright spot all season long, and they found it last night in the white-hot glow of Carmelo Anthony's 62-point scoring outburst, which helped them comfortably beat the Charlotte Bobcats by a score of 125-96.
Anthony's record-setting night brought some semblance of aura and mystique back to Madison Square Garden, which may be the best place in the NBA to bust out a show-stopping number like 62.
Just days after the anniversary of Kobe Bryant's 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors—which also came in the midst of a desperate season—Anthony went nuclear on the floor for the best scoring night anyone on Madison Square Garden's hardwood has ever had.
Unlike Kobe's outburst, which didn't reach ludicrous scoring heights until the second half, Anthony came out firing from the tipoff. He shot 15-of-21 in the first half and went into the locker room with an already astounding 37 points.
Just how hot was Anthony? Well, he hit this circus shot and made it look natural:
Bryant's 81-point night was officially on notice.
Carmelo Anthony going after Kobe's 81? 37 in first half. http://t.co/7nHyPj7bXH— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) January 25, 2014
The Bobcats' Gerald Henderson proved himself to be either the king of understatement or lost in a stupor after the game.
Understatement quote of the night from Charlotte's Gerald Henderson. "We could have done a better job on (Melo).''— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) January 25, 2014
Performances like these also turn other players into fans, giddy to watch the highlights after they get home from work.
Can't wait to watch Melo's 62 on the highlights, love his game.. #hoopertweet— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) January 25, 2014
And of course, Knicks legend Bernard King had nothing but love for Anthony regarding his performance.
"If anyone was to break my Knicks record that I have held for so long, I'm absolutely delighted that it was Carmelo." -- Bernard King— NBA History (@NBAHistory) January 25, 2014
By the way, Anthony's play was so airtight that he put up zero turnovers, which prevented the Bobcats from gaining any traction throughout the game.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: Carmelo Anthony had 62 Pts & 0 turnovers - most points without a TO since individual turnovers were 1st record in '77-78.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 25, 2014
The folks over at NBA Memes, however, couldn't help but throw in a little jab at Bryant after all was said and done.
Going forward, Anthony and the Knicks still have a ton of work to do. One great game from Anthony will not make a season; however, performances like these can restore a sense of pride and enjoyment in a team and can possibly put a charge into the rest of the Knicks' season.
If nothing else, the chatter around the New York Knicks will be positive for awhile, as—with just one magical night—Anthony's record made the Knicks and MSG the center of the basketball universe again.