Friday night in Denver the Nuggets edged the New York Knicks 128-125 in a wild shootout that featured one member of the losing squad, Al Harrington, come off the bench to shoot 14-of-24 with four three pointers and 9-of-13 free throws for 41 points and 10 rebounds.

While Harrington’s individual scoring output would normally be the best in the league on any given NBA basketball night, it was second best in this game as Nuggets small forward Carmelo Anthony erupted for 50.

Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post reports:

carmelo anthony

As if turkey wasn’t enough, [Carmelo] Anthony gorged himself on a diet of open shots provided by New York. And he made them count. The Nuggets forward knocked down 17-of-28 shots to finish with a career-high 50 points.

“It feels good,” said Anthony, whose previous career high was 49 at Washington in 2008. “I have not been (to 50 points) a lot of times, and never got over that hump (in the NBA).”

Anthony had 10 in the first quarter, 14 in the second, 15 in the third and 11 in the fourth.

And a shot chart full of filled-in circles.

Anthony, so far, is having the best season of his career. MVP chants are becoming common in the Pepsi Center, and they revved up again in the fourth quarter when Anthony stepped to the free-throw line.

The AP reports:

With the game in the balance, the crowd chanting “MVP! MVP!” and Anthony’s sights set on an offensive milestone, the Nuggets forward sank a pair of free throws with 16 seconds remaining to finish off a career-high, 50-point performance and help Denver beat the New York Knicks 128-125 Friday night.

“They might have been the two toughest free throws I’ve shot in a while,” Anthony said. “We’ve got the game on the line, 50, you’re right there and you want to get it. If I didn’t say I wanted to get it, I’d be lying to you. I’m right there. But most importantly they were two big free throws.”

Matt Gagne of the New York Daily News reports:

“He’s got the total package right now,” Al Harrington said after the Knicks finished 0-3 on their West Coast swing and dropped to 3-13. “He’s hitting threes, he’s got a mid-range jumper, he can get to the free throw line whenever he wants to. Whenever you’re playing a guy like that, there’s nothing you can do. “I think our guys did a pretty good job, because if we didn’t, he would’ve had 70.”

Including Friday’s games, Melo leads the entire NBA in scoring with 30.9 points per game. Kevin Martin (Sacramento Kings), who is injured and has played in just five games this season, is at 30.6 ppg. Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) is at 30.1 ppg, followed by LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) with 29.4 ppg and Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) with 27.5 ppg.

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