NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony shot his way past Kobe Bryant, Bernard King and Kevin Durant, and he pulled off one more impressive achievement.
He brought smiles to the New York Knicks in a miserable season.
Anthony scored a career-high 62 points to break the franchise and current Madison Square Garden records, and the Knicks beat the Charlotte Bobcats 125-96 on Friday night to stop a five-game losing streak.
Facing daily questions about the Knicks' miserable present and his own uncertain future, Anthony not only seized an MSG record, but gave the building back some life.
And when Anthony threw in a shot from midcourt at the halftime buzzer, Amare Stoudemire laughed hysterically in his suit jacket from the bench, the rest of his teammates standing and roaring.
"Just to see everybody smiling once again, that's what I was more excited to see," Anthony said. "Guys on the bench smiling, high-fiving, having fun once again, that's the only thing I care about."
The records were great, too.
Anthony made 23 of 35 shots and even added 13 rebounds in the NBA's highest-scoring performance this season.
Anthony had 56 after three quarters, bettering Durant's previous season high of 54, and stayed in for the first few minutes of the fourth to break King's Knicks record of 60 set in 1984 and Bryant's arena record of 61 set five years ago.
"I made history tonight, with the performance, but just to be a part of that group of people, like I said, there's only a small group of people that knows what that zone feels like and tonight I was one of them," Anthony said.
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.
"I've seen him score a lot of points, but that was some performance right there," said J.R. Smith, who was also a teammate of Anthony's in Denver.
Smith noticed a different focus from Anthony before the game, a seriousness replacing the usual laughter. Perhaps some of it was some added pregame motivation after the team watched a video featuring Muhammad Ali, one of Anthony's favorite athletes.