Listen: There are 19,033 people inside Madison Square Garden, and they rock the joint with the same fervor of the folks who were here a night earlier, roaring at The Who, shrieking at the Chris Martin/Michael Stipe duet, screeching at the quasi Nirvana reunion featuring Sir Paul.

Only this time the rock star is named Carmelo Anthony, who made eight of his first nine shots, who has 29 points in 22 minutes, who has electrified the room and slapped around the Lakers. He has the ball. The Knicks have a 16-point lead.

"Zoned in," he will say later. "Locked in. One of those games where I had that feeling ..."

Look: There is Melo, a step past Metta World Peace again, streaking toward the basket, leaping, leaning, lunging …

Crashing.

"One of them awkward falls," he will say.

Listen: to the silence, as if someone kicked Pete Townsend's amplifier out of a wall Wednesday night, as if someone knocked over Dave Grohl's drum kit, as if someone unplugged Alicia Keys' microphone. This is what a buzz kill sounds like. And what dread looks like.

"All you're thinking," Raymond Felton said, "is one thing. And that's: Get up, Melo.'"

"The way he was playing," Tyson Chandler said after the Knicks ground their way to a 116-107 victory, "there's no telling how much he would have gotten. And there's no way his game winds up as close as it did at the end."