NEW YORK – Adding more hope to their dream of a long-awaited return to the NBA winner’s circle, the New York Knicks enjoyed a role reversal night against the once-mighty Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden last night.
Raining down three-pointers and playing tight defence in sticking to their new formula for success, Carmelo Anthony and his team mates beat the struggling Lakers 116-107, easing to victory after building a 26-point lead in the second quarter.
Anthony scored 30 points in just 23 minutes, sinking 3-of-4 from beyond the arc before being sidelined with a left ankle sprain after crashing to the floor on a drive to the basket.
Despite cooling off in the second half, New York shot 12-of-25 from long-range and 53.2 per cent overall with Raymond Felton scoring 19 points and Tyson Chandler chiming in with 18 as the Knicks improved to 9-0 at home.
Revelling in their best start to a season in more than 15 years, the Garden crowd serenaded Anthony with chants of “MVP, MVP” and fans could not be blamed for thinking this season could bring the Knicks their first NBA crown in 40 years.
They also mocked a Lakers franchise, winners of 16 NBA titles, including five since the 1999-2000 season, that look lost under new coach Mike D’Antoni, who left the Knicks job towards the end of last season.
New York improved their Eastern Conference-best record to 17-5 against Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and the hapless Lakers, losers of four in a row and mired in 12th place in the West at 9-14.
Bryant paced the Lakers with 31 points, shooting just 10-of-24 from the field.
The Knicks have a slew of quality victories in their hot start, including two wins against defending champions Miami Heat and another over 2011 champions Dallas Mavericks.Other results last night: Bobcats 90, Hawks 113; Spurs 90, Trail Blazers 98.