Pepsi Center Is Melo's Center as Anthony Drops 50 On Knicks

Ryan MaloneyContributor IINovember 28, 2009

DENVER - OCTOBER 28:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets dribbles the ball upcourt against the Utah Jazz during NBA action at Pepsi Center on October 28, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Jazz 114-105.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It had been two years, 11 months, and 12 days since Carmelo Anthony landed an uppercut to the chin of Mardy Collins before 19,763 patrons at Madison Square Garden in a 2006 game between Anthony's Denver Nuggets and Collins' New York Knicks.

 The incident still serves as a shiny black eye on an otherwise brilliant seven-year professional career for Anthony.  But for the former Syracuse Orange forward, Friday night's game may have served as a metaphorical steak over a bruised peeper.

Anthony lit up that same Knicks franchise with a career-high 50 points as Denver outlasted the Knicks 108-105 in Denver. 

His first of two successful free throws with 16 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter wound up being the decisive tally as it gave the Nuggets a 126-121 lead.  His second foul gave him 50 points in a game for the first time in his NBA career.

"They might have been the two toughest free throws I've shot in a while," Anthony told reporters after the game. "We've got the game on the line, 50, you're right there and you want to get it. If I didn't say I wanted to get it, I'd be lying to you. I'm right there. But most importantly they were two big free throws."

The fact that Anthony made 15-of-16 at the charity stripe is a small miracle for any player who has ever donned the orange and blue of Syracuse, a program notorious for their struggles at the line.  But Anthony seemed to be dialed in from all spots on the floor, hitting 17-of-28 shot attempts.

New York's Al Harrington also turned in a memorable performance, dropping in 41 points to fall one short of his career best.  But after the game, even he had to marvel at 'Melo.

"He's got the total package right now," Harrington said. "He's hitting 3s, he's hitting mid-range, he can get to the free throw line whenever he wants.

"When you play against a guy that's going like that, there's nothing you can really do. I think our guys did a pretty good job, because if they didn't, he would have had 70."