Even if the New York Knicks haven’t exactly been a contender over the past couple of decades, there’s a lot of truth when people say that every single player wants to play in the Madison Square Garden. The Big Apple is the mecca of basketball and there just isn’t a bigger stage to shine.
That’s why some of the best players on earth are often inspired when they set foot on the MSG. They have that extra boost, that motivation that often brings the best out of them, which usually isn’t exactly good fans for the New York Knicks.
Throughout history, the Madison Square Garden has seen some legendary performances, and today, we’re going to talk about them by letting you know about the players – both rivals and Knicks – who have scored the most points in a game in that mythical hardwood.
Stephen Curry – 54 Points
It didn’t take long before Stephen Curry proved to the world that sleeping on him was a mistake. Back on February 27, 2013, he was already showing glimpses of greatness and threatening to take down Ray Allen and Reggie Miller as the greatest shooter of all time.
Stephen Curry knocked down 11 of 13 three-pointers and 18 of 28 shots to score a then-career-high 54 points. Sadly, the New York Knicks still beat the Golden State Warriors 109-103. He added 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and just 4 turnovers.
Michael Jordan – 55 Points
You should know by now that no list of great scoring performances will never be complete without Michael Jordan’s name popping in at least once and this isn’t the exception to that rule. Back on March 25, 1995, the greatest player of all time gave the Garden a performance for the ages.
Michael Jordan scored 55 points on 21 of 37 from the field. He went 3 of 4 from beyond the three-point line and added 10 free-throws in 11 tries. Thanks to that performance, the Chicago Bulls beat the New York Knicks 113-111 in an instant classic.
Bernard King – 55 Points
While some people claim that Patrick Ewing is the greatest player in New York Knicks history – and for very good reasons – Bernard King isn’t that far off. In fact, he was one of the most unstoppable scorers in the world in his prime at the Big Apple.
King’s incredible scoring ability was in full display when the Knicks hosted the New Jersey Nets on February 16, 1985. He put on a show with 55 points on 19/33 shooting, adding 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Sadly, the Nets still beat them 126-117.
Bernard King – 60 Points
As we mentioned before, there weren’t many players that could get hot as quickly as Bernard King could in his prime, so it’s not a surprise to see his name again on this list. This time, however, he even took it up a notch with one of the most memorable performances of all time.
King scored a then-record 60 points back on December 25, 1984, during the Christmas day games vs. the New Jersey Nets. He was 19/30 from the field and knocked down 22 free-throws to go along with 7 boards and 4 dimes but once again, his efforts were futile as the Nets beat them 120-114.
James Harden – 61 Points
Even in a time when we’re seeing scoring numbers go way up, what James Harden has done over the past 5 years or so is incredible. He’s putting up videogame numbers on the daily and it feels like he’s one of the few players who could score 80+ any single day now.
Harden’s scoring skills were at his best when he faced off vs. the New York Knicks on January 23, 2019. He tied Kobe Bryant with the highest-scoring game by a rival at the Madison Square Garden, leading the Houston Rockets to a 114-110 win with 61 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals.
Kobe Bryant – 61 Points
Kobe Bryant was so incredibly good and dominant as a scorer that he held the record for the most points scored in a venue that he only visited once per season. He took down Bernard King’s record for most points in the Madison Square Garden in one of his most epic performances, which is a lot to say.
Back on February 2, 2009, the Black Mamba shook the world by torching the New York Knicks for 61 points on 19/31 shooting with 3 three-pointers and a perfect 20/20 from the line. The Los Angeles Lakers won that game 126-117 and the most impressive part is that it wasn’t even Kobe’s career-high.
Carmelo Anthony – 62 Points
Well, we should give credit where it’s due. Carmelo Anthony deserves an apology for all those who believe that he couldn’t play anymore, especially when we take a look back at his résumé. We’re talking about one of the greatest scorers in the history of the game.
It’s only fitting that Carmelo Anthony holds the record for the highest-scoring game in Madison Square Garden history. He reached that milestone on January 24, 2014, during a 125-96 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. He went 23/35 from the floor with 6 three-pointers, 10 free-throws, and 13 rebounds.