They call New York City the Mecca of basketball and Madison Square Garden is the shiny jewel in the center of it. The Garden is where the great ones love to play and many have had memorable nights.
Bernard King scored 60 on Christmas Day in the old Garden. Michael Jordan had his famous double nickel game, five games after coming out of retirement. LeBron James scored 50 in back-to-back years. Kobe Bryant set the scoring record for the venue with 61, which was just recently broken by Carmelo Anthony's 62 point night.
Among those great ones to have big nights at MSG sits Kyrie Irving.
The Cleveland Cavaliers' point guard has played at Madison Square Garden twice in his career, but has already showed he can perform in the biggest spotlight.
After missing his first attempt to light up the New York Knicks in their home building with a sprained shoulder, Irving made his Garden debut with a 22 point, seven assist night in February of 2012. Just 10 months later, he returned with a vengeance.
Irving dazzled everyone in attendance that night, scoring a career-high 41 points on 15-25 shooting. The point guard was 5-8 from three-point range, including two late threes that extended the game, and had five assists and five rebounds.
Irving announced himself to the nation, becoming the youngest player to score 40 or more at the most recent Garden, breaking none other than Jordan's record.
The Cavaliers came up short in the game 103-102, but the then second-year player showed he was to be taken seriously in the NBA.
Thursday night, Cleveland returns to New York and Madison Square Garden looking to try and end a slide that has seen them lose four of their last five games. They face a Knicks team that has won three in a row with Anthony ending one of the best months of his career.
Irving would love to have another big night in MSG in front of a national TV audience on TNT, but there may be something he would like more. His first win in New York.
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