New York’s Anthony pours in 62 points
By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony scored a career-high and franchise-record 62 points, most at the current Madison Square Garden, and the New York Knicks beat the Charlotte Bobcats 125-96 on Friday night to stop a five-game losing streak.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Anthony said in an interview on MSG Network immediately after the game. “It’s just a zone that you get into sometimes. Only certain people know what that zone feels like.”
Anthony made 23 of 35 shots, one when he leapt from halfcourt to beat the halftime buzzer, and even added 13 rebounds in the NBA’s highest-scoring performance this season.
Anthony had 56 after three quarters, bettering Kevin Durant’s previous season high of 54, and stayed in for the first few minutes of the fourth to break Bernard King’s Knicks record of 60 points and Kobe Bryant’s arena record of 61, set five years ago.
“I came into this game locked in,” Anthony said. “I didn’t know I was going to have that type of performance. … It’s a special moment. I know Bernard King is somewhere smiling at me. … I was just taking it one possession at a time. … My teammates found me. I’ve got to thank them.”
It was easily the highlight of the season for Anthony, on pace to miss the playoffs for the first time in his career and facing frequent questions about his future with the team as he heads into free agency this summer.
That was all on hold for one night, the focus simply on Anthony’s amazing scoring.
He easily passed his previous career best of 50 points and possibly could’ve even passed 70 or more had the game been close. Instead, he checked out for good after breaking the records when he banked in a short jumper with 7:24 to play.
With the Knicks desperately thin in the frontcourt after losing Andrea Bargnani on top of the injuries to Amare Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin, Anthony simply took on more of the scoring load as New York won for the first time on its eight-game homestand.
Al Jefferson had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats, snapping his streak of four straight 20-10 games. Charlotte had won two in a row, holding division leaders Toronto and the Los Angeles Clippers to an average of 93 points.
But the Knicks, who had lost to the Bobcats 10 days ago to start their current skid, shot 56 percent. J.R. Smith added 14 points.
Fans chanted “Melo! Melo!” when the Knicks had the ball in the second half, as if they were calling a play. That was replaced by “We Want Melo! We want Melo!” after he checked out.
He made 20 of his first 26 shots against what had been a good defensive team, but there was no defense for the zone Anthony was in.
Last season’s scoring champion had eight points in the first 2½ minutes, went 8 of 10 in the first quarter and had 20 points as the Knicks led 30-21. He skipped his usual break and kept playing deep into the second quarter before finally taking a seat with 4:34 left, shortly after missing an open jumper.
He returned with 2½ minutes left to finish the half in style, throwing in a buzzer beater from just inside halfcourt to cap his 15-of-21 half and make it 67-46, Stoudemire laughing hysterically on the bench in his brown suit jacket and the rest of the players leaping in celebration.
Turned out Anthony was just getting started.
He made his first five shots in the second half and the Bobcats would eventually grow frustrated, picking up two technical fouls on one play after Anthony’s 3-pointer late in the third.
He made both free throws, part of his 10-for-10 showing at the line.
THUNDER 101 CELTICS 83
BOSTON — NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant missed his first game of the season and Serge Ibaka scored 21 points to lead the Thunder to a victory over the Celtics.
It was the Western Conference-leading Thunder’s sixth straight victory.
Jeremy Lamb came off the bench to score 19 points, and former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins had nine rebounds for Oklahoma City. The Thunder were playing with neither Durant nor Westbrook for the first time since the franchise moved from Seattle in 2008.
Jeff Green scored 16 points and Gerald Wallace scored 12 of his 13 points in the first half, before the Thunder pulled away with a 17-2 run in the third quarter.
SPURS 105, HAWKS 79
ATLANTA — Tim Duncan had 17 points and 16 rebounds in another dominant performance against Atlanta and the Spurs coasted to a win over the short-handed Hawks.
Duncan, who blocked four shots, and point guard Tony Parker didn’t return after leaving the game with the Spurs leading 77-50 late in the third quarter. The Spurs used backup players in the fourth.
Boris Diaw led the Spurs with 21 points. Patty Mills, who made six of eight 3-pointers, had 18 points.
The Hawks, already short-handed without Pero Antic and DeMarre Carroll, lost point guard Jeff Teague to a left ankle sprain in the second period. Teague didn’t return.
Paul Millsap’s 15 points led the Hawks, who set a season scoring low.
RAPTORS 104, 76ERS 95
PHILADELPHIA — Kyle Lowry had 18 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds, and DeMar DeRozan scored 34 points to help the Raptors beat the 76ers.
DeRozan scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, including seven straight early in the period as the Raptors opened a double-digit lead.
Lowry grabbed his 10th rebound late in the fourth, continuing a string of strong games he’s had for the Atlantic Division leaders. He’s a Philadelphia native and played at Villanova.
MAGIC 114, LAKERS 105
ORLANDO, Fla. — Tobias Harris had 28 points and a career-high 20 rebounds to lift the Orlando Magic to a 114-105 victory over the Lakers.
Arron Afflalo added 23 points and Jameer Nelson scored 22 as the Magic won for only the second time in their last 14 games. Rookie Victor Oladipo had 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.
Pau Gasol led Los Angeles with 21 points and 10 rebounds. The Lakers, playing the sixth game of a seven-game road trip, got 19 points and 14 assists from Kendall Marshall and 17 points.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Eric Gordon’s driving layup with 1.9 seconds left gave the Pelicans a victory over the Pistons.
Detroit blew a 16-point third-quarter lead, and the Pistons inexplicably didn’t call time after Gordon’s winning shot.
Instead, Brandon Jennings rushed a shot from midcourt that missed while coach Maurice Cheeks stood yelling for a timeout.
Detroit wasted a 28-point performance from Jennings and 21 points and 20 rebounds from Andre Drummond. Anthony Morrow scored 21 points for New Orleans, which won for only the second time in 11 games.
The Pelicans were without Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson, Jason Smith and Tyreke Evans because of injuries.
NETS 107, MAVS 106
BROOKLYN, N.Y — Mirza Teletovic scored 24 of his 34 points in the second quarter and Deron Wiliams had 18 points and 11 assists as the Nets beat the Mavericks for their fourth straight win.
The Nets improved to an NBA best 9-1 in January. Paul Pierce had 12 points and Kevin Garnett added 10 points and 11 rebounds for New Jersey.
Former Net Vince Carter had 19 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points for the Mavs, who lost their second straight game.
HOUSTON — Courtney Lee scored 19 points, Zach Randolph added 15 and the Grizzlies held off the Rockets.
Mike Miller drew an offensive foul to give Houston the ball back with 8.3 seconds left. But Patrick Beverley shot an air ball 3-point attempt under heavy pressure to give the Grizzlies the victory.
It is the first win for Memphis over a Southwest Division opponent after it started the season 0-10 in the division.
The victory ruined a spectacular night for Houston’s Chandler Parsons. He had a career-high 34 points and made 10 3-pointers — all in the second half. It is an NBA record for 3s in a half and a franchise record for 3s in a game.
CLIPPERS 112, BULLS 95
CHICAGO — Blake Griffin had 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Clippers to a victory over the Bulls.
Jamal Crawford added 19 points for the Clippers, who had six players score in double figures and shot 54 percent from the field — including 13 for 21 on 3-pointers. DeAndre Jordan added 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Carlos Boozer scored 22 points for the Bulls, who snapped a three-game winning streak.
The Clippers, playing without injured All-Star Chris Paul, have won four straight against the Bulls, and improved to 3-2 on their seven-game trip.
CAVALIERS 93, BUCKS 78
CLEVELAND — Anderson Varejao scored 16 points and Kyrie Irving had 10 points and 10 assists, leading the Cavaliers over the Bucks.
Varejao scored eight points to spark a 12-2 run that gave Cleveland a 64-46 lead late in the third quarter. Irving, named an All-Star starter for the first time Thursday, had seven assists in the second half.
Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 13 points. Brandon Knight, who leads the Bucks with a 15.9 average, was held to eight points and went 4 of 12 from the field.
The Bucks (8-34) have the worst record in the league and have lost 10 of 11.
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