Carmelo Anthony scored 22 of his 30 points in the first quarter, and the Knicks held on after he departed with a sprained left ankle to beat the Lakers, 116-107, Thursday night in Los Angeles coach Mike D'Antoni’s return to Madison Square Garden.
Firing in 3-pointers and moving the ball to open shooters, things they often struggled to do under D'Antoni, the Knicks won for the eighth time in nine games and improved to 9-0 at home for the first time since the 1992-93 season.
Meanwhile, things are starting as poorly for D'Antoni in Los Angeles as they ended in New York. The Lakers, still without Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, were never really in the game while losing their fourth straight and falling to 9-14.
Raymond Felton scored 19 points, and Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith added 18 apiece for the Knicks.
Kobe Bryant had 31 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers. Metta World Peace finished with 23 points and Dwight Howard had 20.
The Lakers did cut what was a 26-point deficit to 113-107 when World Peace converted a 3-point play with 1:27 left, but the Knicks took more than a minute off the clock while twice grabbing offensive rebounds on the next possession before Chandler made a free throw with 18 seconds to play.
Anthony, playing at an MVP level after he struggled last season under D'Antoni, made his first three 3-pointers, nearly reaching his NBA-leading average of 9.7 points per first quarter before 2½ minutes were even gone. Bryant tried to keep pace but the Knicks couldn’t be stopped, making 17 of 23 shots (74 percent) and building a 41-27 advantage.
Anthony finished 2 shy of the franchise record for points in a quarter, held by Willis Reed and Allan Houston. And he was easily on pace to pass Bryant’s building record of 61 points, though he didn’t even get halfway there after playing just five minutes of the second half.
It was 68-49 at the break, but the Knicks lost some of their flow when Anthony went to the locker room with 6:41 left in the third quarter. and a 17-point lead. He landed awkwardly after being fouled by Howard on a drive to the basket, and though he was able to stay in to shoot the free throws, Anthony was removed at the next whistle.
Trail Blazers 98, Spurs 90 — Rookie point guard Damian Lillard outdueled All-Star Tony Parker, and host Portland held off a late San Antonio surge.
Lillard had season highs in points (29) and rebounds (seven), and he had six assists.
The Trail Blazers handed the Spurs their second loss in as many nights.
LaMarcus Aldridge contributed 22 points and six rebounds for the Blazers, who beat the Spurs for the eighth time in the teams' past nine meetings in Portland.
Parker had 21 points and five assists to lead San Antonio.
Hawks 113, Bobcats 90 — Devin Harris scored 20 points, Josh Smith added 18 and surging host Atlanta handed Charlotte its 10th straight defeat.
Gerald Henderson finished with 17 points and Ramon Sessions had 16 for Charlotte.
The Hawks are 12-3 since losing three of their first five games. Atlanta has won two straight and five of six.