Friday night was a special night for the New York Knicks (16-27). Not because of the 125-96 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats (19-26), but because of the record breaking performance of Carmelo Anthony. Before the game, the Knicks were on a 5-game losing streak and were desperate for a win -- fortunately, Anthony provided the performance needed to lift the Knicks over the top.
Anthony dropped a career-high 62 points on the Bobcats, who were 5th in the NBA in points against per game and 6th in opponent FG percentage before the game. The Bobcats are a solid defensive team, but they couldn’t find an answer for Anthony. From the tip, Anthony was hot and he scored 20 points in the 1st quarter. At the end of the 1st, the Knicks held a 30-21 lead.
In the 2nd quarter, it was more of the same as Anthony added 17 more points to his total. At the 3:57 mark, a Al Jefferson lay-up cut the Knicks lead to ten, then the Knicks finished the quarter on a 15-4 run to take a 67-46 lead. Anthony continued to dominate and hit a three from half-court to end the half.
The Knicks also had a surprise contribution from Jeremy Tyler, who provided a huge spark off of the bench. Due to the injuries to the front line, Tyler received some playing time and made an impact. J.R. Smith fed him with an street-ball, over the head assist for a one handed dunk -- that basket sparked the Knicks 15-4 run to end the quarter. He also had a put-back dunk earlier in the quarter off of an Anthony missed three.
At halftime, Anthony had 37 points off 15-21 shooting from the field. The Knicks shot 64% from the field, while the Bobcats shot 49% -- the Knicks also dominated the boards 20-12.
By the end of the 3rd quarter, Anthony already smashed his career-high. He ended the quarter with 56 points off 22-30 shooting from the field. The game was already out of reach with the score being 101-66; but with Anthony being only six points away from the Madison Square Garden record, Coach Mike Woodson kept him in the game.
At the 7:22 mark, Anthony spun baseline to get away from a double-team and hit a leaning bank shot off the glass to break the record. Afterwards, a timeout was called for the fans to show Anthony love and to give him rest for the remainder of the game. He was congratulated by teammates as he went to the bench and during the break, he stepped onto the court and received a standing ovation from the Garden faithful.
Carmelo Anthony now holds the Madison Square Garden record, breaking Kobe Bryant’s old record of 61 points scored in 2009, and the Knicks’ franchise record which was held by Bernard King -- who scored 60 points on Christmas Day in 1984. Anthony also holds the record for most points scored without a turnover (since turnovers began being recorded in 1977-78), and he becomes the 6th player in the last 25 years to have a 60 point and 10 rebound game.
Key Stats: Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 62 points and 13 rebounds. He shot 23-35 from the field, 6-11 from 3-point range, and 10-10 from the free throw line. Raymond Felton had 11 points and 5 assists. J.R. Smith scored 14 points off the bench with 4 assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 10 points off the bench.
Al Jefferson led the Bobcats with 25 points and 9 rebounds. Ramon Sessions had 12 points and 3 assists. Chris Douglas-Roberts had 14 points off the bench. Jannero Pargo had 11 points and 8 assists off the bench.
Key Notes: Kemba Walker missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. Andrea Bargnani is out with torn ligaments in his left elbow. Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin are out with a sprained left ankle. Metta World Peace returned to the bench, but he didn’t play.
For more click here.
In an emotional return to Boston for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the Brooklyn Nets (20-22) defeated the Boston Celtics (15-31) 85-79. This win increased the Nets win streak to five, and the Nets have won 10 of their last 11 games. In the month of January, the Nets have the best record in the NBA at 10-1.
Both Pierce and Garnett received standing ovations as they took the court for pre-game warmups, and when they were the last two starters introduced for the Nets.
At 2:25 in the first quarter, during a timeout, a tribute video was played for Garnett. Garnett responded with a smile, his trademark pound to his chest, and he waved several times to the crowd.
Pierce’s video tribute was shown at the end of the 1st quarter. His tribute was longer and it drew a louder ovation. Pierce was drafted by the Celtics with the 10th pick in 1998 and spent 15 years with the Celtics before being traded to the Nets. Pierce looked up at video board with a humble look, and repeatedly bowed to the fans while mouthing the words “thank you.”
At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Celtics trailed the Nets 59-53; then the Nets opened the 4th with a 6-0 run. Celtics came within three points twice -- once on a Chris Johnson 3-pointer which cut the lead to 73-70 with 4:37 remaining, and again on a Rajon Rondo 3-pointer with 1:02 remaining.
On the next possession, Joe Johnson missed a 3-pointer and Rondo was able to grab the rebound. Rondo had the ball at the top, then threw a bad pass which Garnett intercepted. Garnett drove to the basket and made the lay up to give the Nets a commanding 82-77 lead.
Both teams showed offensive futility, shooting a combined 38.6% from the field. The Celtics dominated the boards 45-41, but the Nets dominated the paint by outscoring the Celtics 40-26.
The Nets currently hold the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference.
Key Stats: Andray Blatche led the Nets with 17 points and 4 rebounds off the bench. Alan Anderson scored 11 points. Andrei Kirilenko added 11 points off the bench. Paul Pierce finished with only 6 points an 4 rebounds. Kevin Garnett finished with 6 points and 3 rebounds.
Brandon Bass led the Celtics with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Rajon Rondo had 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. Gerald Wallace had 12 points and 5 rebounds. Chris Johnson had 12 points and 4 rebounds off the bench.
Key Notes: Celtics recalled Vitor Faverani from the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League. Paul Pierce scored his first two points of the game on free throws at 10:52 in the 3rd quarter, and Pierce scored his first field goal with 9:08 remaining in the quarter.
For more click here.