New York Knicks: 20 greatest performances at Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks acknowledges the crowd as he leaves a game against the Charlotte Bobcats after scoring his team record 62nd point at Madison Square Garden on January 24, 2014 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bobcats 125-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 24: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks acknowledges the crowd as he leaves a game against the Charlotte Bobcats after scoring his team record 62nd point at Madison Square Garden on January 24, 2014 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bobcats 125-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

5. LeBron James, 52 points: Feb. 4, 2009

LeBron James took six years to work his way into Madison Square Garden lore, but on Feb. 4, 2009, he made an indent on this venue, and the Knicks, with 52 points. Easily still one of his best performances almost 10 years later.

In an awe-inspiring stat line, James, without regard for this 21-27 Knicks squad at the time, derailed them for 17-of-33 shooting — only two made shots from 3-point range — and 9 rebounds, 11 assists and 2 steals.

One more rebound may have solidified this even more among MSG’s greatest single-game performances.

Under Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni, defense wasn’t exactly prioritized, so it led to dominations like this. Al Harrington, Quentin Richardson, Jared Jeffries and David Lee hardly posed threats to thwart that night, let alone most games in 2008-09. So James and the Cavaliers went off for 46.3 percent shooting and 10-for-24 from 3-point range.

James carried this unusual Cavaliers group of Ben Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Wally Szczerbiak and Mo Williams for most of the game — a representation of the talent around this three-time NBA champion; none of his trio of titles came in his first Cleveland stint.

So, nights like this weren’t unusual for The King. He had two other 50-point games that season and six of 40-to-49 points.