The New York Knicks defeated the host New Orleans Hornets 102-80 to improve their record to a National Basketball Association-best 8-1 this season.
The Knicks lead the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division by two games over the Brooklyn Nets, who lost in Los Angeles in Mike D’Antoni’s coaching debut with the Lakers last night.
Carmelo Anthony scored 19 of his 29 points in the first quarter and hit eight of his first nine shots for the Knicks, who tied their best start in franchise history.
“It was good to get it going early,” Anthony told reporters. “Any time you can start off on the road like that, in the first quarter like that, it gives us a lot of confidence.”
The Knicks have won eight of their first nine games for the third time in franchise history. The other two times, during the 1969-70 and 1972-73 seasons, New York went on to win the NBA championship.
New York will attempt to push its record to 9-1 tonight in Dallas, and then will face former Knicks guard Jeremy Lin and the Rockets at Houston on Nov. 23.
In 1969, the Knicks won 23 of their first 24 games. In 1972-73, New York won 10 of its first 11 games. Both those teams featured four future Hall of Famers -- Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere, Walt Frazier and Willis Reed.
Raymond Felton hit five 3-pointers for the Knicks, who led by five points at halftime and outscored the Hornets 30-16 in the third period last night to take control of the game at the New Orleans Arena. The Hornets, who have lost four straight games, are now 3-6.
Ryan Anderson, starting in place of injured rookie forward Anthony Davis, led the Hornets with 15 points. Davis was sidelined with a sore left ankle.
In Los Angeles, the Lakers opened with a 10-0 run and Kobe Bryant hit six free throws in the game’s final 17 seconds as Los Angeles won 95-90.
Dwight Howard had 23 points and 15 rebounds for Los Angeles (6-5), while Bryant scored 25 points. Deron Williams led the Nets (6-3) with 22 points and 10 assists.
D’Antoni was hired to replace Mike Brown on Nov. 12 after the team got off to a 1-4 start this season. D’Antoni, who is recovering from knee surgery, resigned from the Knicks in March while in the last season of a four-year contract.
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