- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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About two hours before tipoff on Wednesday, Carmelo Anthony was on the Madison Square Garden floor, running sprints at half speed and shooting around to test his injured left ankle.
"For the most part, I felt pretty good," he said.
And that was a good thing for the Knicks.
The warmup convinced Anthony that he could suit up for New York's showdown against the Brooklyn Nets.
And Anthony didn't just suit up, he dominated.
After sitting out two games due to an injured left ankle, Melo poured in a game-high 31 points in 36 minutes to lead the Knicks to a 14-point win over Brooklyn.
"He's on another planet right now," Nets coach Avery Johnson said after the game.
Unfortunately for Johnson, his Nets have had to visit Anthony's planet frequently this season.
New York has beaten Brooklyn in two of their three meetings this year.
And Anthony's averaging 37 points in those games.
"There's no doubt in my mind that he's an MVP candidate," Mike Woodson said. "I know it's early but he's playing at such a high level, it's scary. It's a beautiful thing to watch."
That, of course, depends on your perspective. After getting torched by Anthony for much of the game, Gerald Wallace wasn't in the mood to break down Anthony's brilliance.
"I ain't talking about Carmelo," he told reporters after the game.
But he was the main topic of conversation in the Knicks' locker room.
"You know, he’s a special player," Tyson Chandler said. "There’s not many in this world than can take four, five days off and then come in and put up 31."
While the rest of us were wondering whether Anthony was going to play Monday, Chandler needed to take only one look at his teammate to know he was going to suit up.
"I knew he was playing (in the morning)," the center said. "I can always tell when he has a game-day excitement. He just has a little more bounce in his step. You can tell his mind is focused and he goes into that mode."
It's a mode that Brooklyn's awfully familiar with.
Anthony poured in 17 points in the first half and added seven in the third quarter as the Knicks reeled off a decisive 16-6 run over the quarter's final six minutes.
After the game, Anthony received treatment for about 40 minutes and said he felt lingering soreness in his ankle.
He may not be fully healthy for Friday's game against the Bulls, but Woodson doesn't seem too concerned.
"If he's not 100 percent, I'll take whatever percent he was tonight," the coach said, "because it was awesome."
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