The New York Knicks remained undefeated on their home court on Thursday and defeated the struggling Los Angeles Lakers 116-107 in new Head Coach, Mike D’Antoni’s return to Madison Square Garden. The Knicks improved their record to 9-0 at home equaling their best start at Madison Square Garden since the 1992-1993 season.
The Knicks came out firing to finish the first quarter with a 41-27 lead shooting 74 percent from the field. Star Forward, Carmelo Anthony led the early charge with 22 of his 30 points in the quarter. Anthony finished two points shy of the franchise scoring record in a quarter, held by Willis Reed and Allan Houston.
The win was the eighth in nine games for the Knicks who improved to 17-5 overall. Meanwhile, the Lakers lost their fourth straight game and fell to 9-14.
The Lakers’ recent slide is reminiscent of D’Antoni’s struggles at the helm of the Knicks. Never able to get into a flow while coaching New York, he sees this current Knicks team as what he would like the Lakers to be.
”They’re playing the way I would like for us to play,” D’Antoni said to Fox Sports after the Lakers’ morning workout. ”They’re spreading the floor and one of the best things they do is they’re not turning it over and they shoot 3s, and those are two big stats for winning and they do it the best in the league.”
Raymond Felton added 19 points for the Knicks. Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith had 18 points a piece. The Knicks went up 68-49 at halftime and led by as many as 26 points in a game where the Lakers were never competitive. The Knicks lost potential MVP candidate, Carmelo Anthony, who left the game with 6:41 left in the third quarter after landing awkwardly on a drive to the basket. Despite losing their superstar, the Knicks were able to hold off a late surge by the Lakers.
“We are having a re-occurring theme that the first quarter is just not good, and then the first half is not great and in the second half we seem to turn it on, and we need to solve that problem real quick,” D’Antoni told CBS Sports.
Kobe Bryant had 31 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers. Metta World Peace finished with 23 points and Dwight Howard chipped in 20 points. The Lakers are still without starters Pau Gasol and Steve Nash.
The Lakers hope to snap their recent losing streak on Friday night against the Washington Wizards. Meanwhile, the Knicks look to improve to 10-0 at home on Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.