KNICKS 116 LAKERS 107 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
Two teams heading in opposite directions hit the floor on Thursday night and the Knicks showed no mercy in a 116-107 victory over the visiting Lakers.
New York blitzed Los Angeles from the opening tip as Carmelo Anthony buried three consecutive long bombs to start the game. Anthony was scorching hot in the first half, scoring 26 of his team-high 30 points to help the Knicks maintain an undefeated record at Madison Square Garden.
With 41 first quarter points, New York built a 14-point lead heading into the second quarter. The rest of the home squad joined the party by scoring 68 in the first half, hitting 61.4 percent from the floor, 57.1 percent behind the arc, and just two turnovers. The Knicks turned defense into quick offense, moved the ball effectively on offense for wide open shots, and held the Lakers under 40 percent shooting from the field. A near perfect half featured a 26-point lead for New York in a truly dominating performance.
Just when the Knicks were running on all cylinders, Anthony suffered a sprained ankle sprain in a collision with Dwight Howard in the paint. Anthony finished his free throws but had to make a trip to the locker room in obvious pain. He did not return after leaving at the 6:54 mark of the third quarter with New York holding a 78-61 lead.
Kobe Bryant attempted to rally his squad in the final stanza and even trimmed the Knicks advantage to just 11 points early in the period. J.R. Smith hit timely shots, especially a 3-pointer with 9:39 remaining on the game clock to push New York’s lead to 100-84.
Bryant made some fans at the Garden feel a bit nervous again at the 4:30 mark when he hit a difficult fading 3-pointer in the corner and dropped the deficit to seven points. New York answered the run behind a Raymond Felton - Tyson Chandler alley-ooop and then Smith connected on a 3-pointer.
The Knicks closed the deal at MSG to remain the only undefeated team at home in the NBA this season. At 17-5, New York owns the best record in the Eastern Conference while the Lakers fell to 9-14.
Felton posted 19 points, Chandler scored 18, Smith finished with 18 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the floor, and Novak registered 12 off the pine.
“I was zoned in. I was locked in. Tonight was one of those games where I had that feeling. I wanted to get it going and I had that feeling going early in the game. My teammates were feeding off that.” -- Carmelo Anthony
On his injury: "I just took a hard fall. It was one of them awkward falls. My ankle is a little sore right now. That's it."
Anthony continued to keep pace in the MVP race with a brilliant first half performance. The only thing that stopped him from back-to-back 40+ games was the ankle injury early in the third quarter. He shot 10-of-15 and 3-of-5 beyond the arc in just 22 minutes of court time.
The Knicks shot 53.2 percent from the field, which is their best field goal percentage of the season.
The Knicks will remain in New York for the long homestand and will return to MSG for a Saturday night matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers.