Carmelo Anthony sets Knicks franchise record, scores 62 points in win over Bobcats

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This is one way for the Knicks to turn things around — simply have their best player go on an insane scoring tear to singlehandedly drag the team to victory.

Carmelo Anthony turned in a performance for the ages on Friday, pouring in 62 points to lead the Knicks to a 125-96 win over the Bobcats.

The initial reaction from casual observers would be to dismiss the team the scoring outburst came against, but Charlotte is seventh in the league in defensive efficiency, and came into this contest holding down the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference — which, by the way, had them sitting three games ahead of New York in the standings.

Anthony got things started with 20 points in the first quarter, before following it up with 17 in the second and 19 in the third, then finishing with just six in the fourth in less than five minutes of action with the game so out of hand. His final line was 62 points on 23-of-35 shooting, to go along with 13 rebounds and zero assists in just under 39 minutes of action.

The 62-point total was not only a franchise record, but it also set the record for modern day performances at Madison Square Garden since 1968. Kobe Bryant held the previous building record with the 61 he put up in 2009, which bested a 60-point performance from Bernard King back in 1984.

The point total is obviously one that isn’t achieved all that often, or even on anything close to an annual basis. According to Basketball Reference, a player has scored at least 62 points in a game only 17 times since the 1963-64 season — a span of almost 40 years. The list includes players like Wilt Chamberlain, Tracy McGrady, George Gervin, Rick Barry, Pete Maravich, David Robinson, David Thompson, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, with Bryant accomplishing the feat most recently with a 65-point effort against the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007.

The Knicks still have their issues, but the win snapped a five-game losing streak. And Anthony’s otherwordly performance finally gives the local media a positive story line to pursue after publishing so much negativity about the team over the first half of the season.

Here’s Anthony’s shot chart from this one, and by the looks of things, he should really stay away from shooting threes on the right side of the floor. Hey, at least Mike Woodson will have something to coach his star player on when watching film the next day.

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Scottie Pippen on LeBron James, Michael Jordan: “It’s not a fair comparison”

AP
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The battle has, stupidly, raged on between supporters of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Both sides seem to believe their preference is irrefutably the choice for the best player in NBA history.

And because they did not play in the same era, the question will never be answered. No doubt in 50 years they will write columns about Jordan vs. LeBron, just like their fathers, and their father’s fathers before them.

James has certainly seemed to take a bit of a leap in the eyes of the NBA community this season, likely because of his wonderful performance at age 33. He’s also single-handedly won two playoff series this year. It’s been incredible.

But LeBron rising above Jordan has also brought out some more reasonable takes. Former Chicago Bulls legend and Jordan running mate Scottie Pippen spoke up recently about the debate, giving a measured analysis that I think is pretty strong.

In short, Pippen basically said you can’t compare the two because of the eras, the style, and the fact they just don’t play the same position (if LeBron even has a position, that is).

Via Twitter:

That sounds right to me.

Cavaliers’ Kendrick Perkins not into “all that new stuff” like Chewbacca

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Chewbacca was at Game 3 in Cleveland Saturday. Sitting courtside.

Why? Because growing up on Kashyyyk he played a little hoop and admires LeBron James‘ skill? Because Drake gave him the tickets? Maybe. I mean, it’s not like that was just a clever little publicity stunt for a movie.

After the Cavaliers’ win, Kevin Love decided to make a little joke of it with noted humorist Kendrick Perkins, and it went over as well as expected (with Dave McMenamin of ESPN catching it).

That’s vintage Perkins.

Celtics’ Terry Rozier on Game 3: “We needed to get our butts whooped”

Associated Press
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Cleveland dominated Game 3 Saturday night. They played harder, to start. The Cavaliers’ defensive pressure on the ball was better, they were sharper rotating out to shooters and covering passing lanes. Cleveland’s role players stepped up and helped LeBron James.

Boston, meanwhile, wilted in the face of that pressure Saturday, something it has done a few times on the road these playoffs. The Celtics got away from the things that got them to the Eastern Conference Finals. Guard Terry Rozier put it more bluntly, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston:

“I feel like we needed this (loss) to get us back … to get us ready for Monday,” Rozier said.

Rozier later added, “We needed to get our butts whipped. Come back to reality and take care of business on Monday.”

Cleveland is a championship team — from LeBron James on down through the core guys, they all have rings. They have been down before, and heading home it was expected they would play with force. Cleveland’s back was against the wall and they responded.

From the Celtics’ perspective, they also got a little too fat and happy and were not ready for what the Cavaliers came with in Game 3.

Now the pressure is on Boston to push back, to get back to their level of execution and do it under pressure. Make the Cavaliers prove the improved defensive effort was not a one-off game. The Celtics must move the ball and play with some pace, then see if the Cavaliers can keep it together in the face of crisp play.

When this series heads back to Boston Wednesday, it will either see the Celtics in control up 3-1, or the series will be a best of three (with the Cavs still having to figure out if they can win on the road). At home, the Cavaliers are going to play with force again and have some depth. We’ll see if Game 3 was enough of a wakeup call for Boston.

PBT Extra: Can Rockets take Game 2 energy, execution on the road?

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Houston found its blueprint to beating Golden State in Game 2: Strong defensive pressure on the ball, quick switches and communication on defense, getting out in transition when possible, and starting sets earlier in the shot clock and attacking downhill with James Harden and Chris Paul.

Now can they do that on the road? Against a more focused and sharper Warriors’ team?

That will be the question in the next two games of the Western Conference Finals, and it’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.