Bernard King was in the building, as were the players from Syracuse, who arrived early for the NCAA Final Four this weekend.

The support and setting were ideal for Carmelo Anthony to take his best shot at history. Even the large contingent of Knicks fans was chanting “M-V-P”, and the Atlanta Hawks unknowingly played an important role as well by offering Josh Smith as the sacrificial lamb/designated punching bag for him.

“I thought,” Anthony said afterward, “I had a chance for it.”

Anthony fell short of scoring 50 points for a second consecutive game but only because he didn’t take as many shots as he could have and Mike Woodson didn’t want to push his star’s minutes above 45.

Yes, history was stopped, but the NBA’s hottest player and team weren’t.

Anthony scored 40 points on 27 shots in 41 minutes as the Knicks overwhelmed the Hawks in the fourth quarter and cruised to a 95-82 victory Wednesday night over a team that looms as a potential first-round opponent. The win was the Knicks’ 10th straight heading into Friday’s home game against Milwaukee.

“Guys are starting to get their confidence back,” Anthony said after the Knicks improved to 48-26. “We’re back to having fun on the basketball court. We’re back to competing and that’s always a good thing.”

Two weeks before the start of the playoffs, Anthony has regained his form. One night after scoring 50 against the Miami Heat, Anthony made 17 of 27 shots and five of six 3-pointers. He has scored 90 points on 53 shots in his last two games but fell short of matching King’s back-to-back 50-point games accomplished 29 years ago.

“I was hoping he’d get 51,” King said after walking out of the Knicks’ locker room.

Anthony was unaware that King was in attendance but he knew he needed 14 points in the fourth quarter to hit 50. Anthony started the final period on the bench, and two minutes into the quarter, Woodson turned to him, but Anthony wasn’t ready.