Unless things pick up drastically, the win over the Bobcats will stand like a middle finger amid the Knicks' emotional timeline this season. It's funny how that happens. Some of my most excited nights as a Knicks fan have come during losing years, and this one towered over all of those. Simply, Carmelo Anthony's 62 points dwarf any Knick scoring performance in my experience, edging Bernard King and Kobe Bryant for the Knicks and Madison Square Garden single-game scoring records. Less simply, this game will stand for something someday. The Knicks will have rebounded or plummeted, Melo will have stayed or gone, and we'll plant 62 within a context, decorate it with meaning. For now, though, it's simple. We can gaze upon 62 utterly uncomplicated points-- a performance unsullied by ugly percentages or excess free throws or poor sportsmanship or a losing team effort, exactly better than its comparable predecessors. It's a towering pile of feints, half-spins, fade-aways, finishes, and wrist-flicks. Melo got up, he scored on the first possession, he kept scoring until he had 62 points, then he sat down.
The Knicks played quite well as a support team, too. They reminded us they can do that. There was a bounce to them, even before Melo took command. Three shooters at a time joined Melo to keep the floor spread and dissuade the Cats from hard doubles until it was far too late. They punctuated his torrents with hits of their own-- J.R. Smith's creative peaks off the dribble, the odd Raymond Felton pick-and-roll gem, moments of properly Chandlerian and Shumptilian defense, Jeremy Tyler smashing his way into the picture. I don't know what to make of the defense, really; at a certain point it turned into score-if-you-want-just-give-Melo-his-goddamn-ball-back-immediately, and comfortably so. The Knicks still let themselves get lit up a bit even before they turned to history-catering, but less sheepishly, I think. They played fine. It was the perfect setting for Melo's jewel of a night-- solid, with smaller glimmering things to complete the spectacle. Some other little notes:
- Clean though Melo's performance was, I will never forget that he went shot-for-shot with Jannero Pargo for a little while there. FARTDOG had a signature stretch in the second quarter.
- Melo never put together one truly huge streak of buckets, I don't think. There were regular moments at which one could have guessed he was about to cool off. I thought I felt it a few times in the first half, probably just because I tend toward pessimism at this point in the season, but then he tucked a half-court bomb in before the first half's buzzer and it was pretty clear this was different. Late in the game, I got concerned again because I thought Melo might not have the legs to climb those lat few steps into the 60s, but yeah, nope. He was fine. Tired, but probably buzzing enough to crack...what, 70? 62 was exactly right, though.
- The Knicks didn't trust Cole Aldrich or Jeremy Tyler-- both playing their first real, extended minutes-- to guard Al Jefferson alone, which is reasonable, because Al's exactly the kind of dancing, cackling uncle to feast on a match-up with a youngster. I don't know whether the Knicks' help was nastier than usual or whether Jefferson just loathes to pass, but the help worked well. He got his numbers early, then tailed off.
- Aldrich didn't show much-- some good help, some bad help, some hustle, no touch-- but Tyler really asserted himself. Those dunks in the video linked above and both of his blocks really resonated.
- Mike Woodson didn't play two point guards that often, but like I said, he did let Melo play with three shooters. He also went '12-'13 wild-ass small for moments, like when Felton, Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., Shump, and Tyler shared the floor.
- Foul trouble limited their engagement, but it was particularly rewarding (and must have been for him) to see Melo light up Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Kid's been in Melo's shit all season, but it just didn't matter this time. MKG could've climbed on the man's back and it wouldn't have mattered.
- Mike Breen on that J.R.-to-Tyler alley-oop: "I thought it was just another wild, erratic J.R. Smith shot!". He threw the ball behind his own head!
- Great game thread, y'all. It felt special! People watching from Sierra Leone and India and whatnot, people having birthdays. Great time, great friends.
I don't have much more in the way of notes. Other stuff has happened, other stuff will happen, but like CARMP said, at least that happened. That was a wonderful thing that happened. We get to keep it.