NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony scored 22 of his 30 points in the first quarter, and the New York Knicks held on after he departed with a sprained left ankle to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 116-107 on Thursday night in 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 three-point play with 1:27 remaining, 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 2 1/2 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 two 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 5 minutes of the second half.
When it was over, D'Antoni shook hands with Mike Woodson, who replaced him on the New York bench, and a couple of Knicks players before walking off after another rocky night with the Lakers.
He's often been considered an offensive genius whose teams are poor defensively, but right now the Lakers don't really look good on either end.
The Knicks made 22 of their first 30 shots overall and started 8 of 10 behind the arc. Even when the Lakers tried to defend, it didn't work. Howard batted the ball away from Rasheed Wallace in the post, so Wallace simply retrieved it in the corner, buried a 3-pointer, and the lead ballooned to 58-32.
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 had 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.
D'Antoni was loudly booed during pregame introductions, Knicks fans who appreciated the rugged defensive teams of the 1990s never truly embracing his offense-first style. D'Antoni said he enjoyed his time in New York and said earlier Thursday the Knicks, who lead the NBA in 3-pointers per game and fewest turnovers, were playing the way he'd like his team to play.
Sure enough, they made 12 3-pointers, right at their average, and turned it over just six times.
ATLANTA — Devin Harris scored 20 points, Josh Smith added 18 and the surging Atlanta Hawks beat Charlotte to hand the Bobcats their 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 this season. Atlanta has won two straight and five of six.
Lou Williams had eight of his nine assists in the first half for Atlanta. Williams, who finished with 13 points, matched his career high in assists, and Ivan Johnson added a season-high 16 points.
Hawks center Al Horford finished with 11 points and three rebounds, ending his streak of seven consecutive double-doubles.
Atlanta got off to a strong start offensively, hitting nearly 63 percent of its first 35 shots before Horford and Williams missed jumpers to end the first half.
Charlotte shot 35.9 percent and trailed by 17 at the break.
Since winning in double overtime at Washington on Nov. 24 and improving to 7-5, the Bobcats have looked similar to the Charlotte team that finished last season 7-59 for the worst winning percentage in NBA history.
The Bobcats were coming off a dispiriting home loss Wednesday to the Los Angeles Clippers in which they blew a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter.
NEW YORK — LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are the leading vote-getters, while Jeremy Lin has a chance to bring Linsanity to the NBA All-Star game.
Lin was running third among Western Conference guards behind Bryant (639,419 votes) and Chris Paul (353,603) when the NBA released the first All-Star balloting update of the season Thursday. Lin was a little more than 55,000 votes behind Paul as he tries to gain a starting spot for the Feb. 17 game in his home arena in Houston.
Lin, an Asian-American who became a worldwide phenom last season while playing for the New York Knicks, has struggled in his first season with the Rockets but remains popular in Asia and figures to benefit from this being the first time fans can vote via social media.
James had 641,348 votes. Carmelo Anthony was second among East frontcourt players and Kevin Garnett was about 7,500 votes ahead of Chris Bosh for the remaining starting slot. Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo led East guards.
Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin led in the race for the West frontcourt spots.
Voting continues through Jan. 14 and starters will be announced Jan. 17.