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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 27 22 31 27 107
Play by Play New York Knicks 41 27 25 23 116
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Anthony scores 30, Knicks beat slumping Lakers

By BRIAN MAHONEY


Posted Dec 13 2012 11:18PM

NEW YORK (AP) 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.

D'Antoni couldn't get the Knicks' offense going last season and tensions between he and Anthony seemed strained, though both denied it, when he resigned in March with the team threatening to fall out of the playoff race. The Knicks went 18-6 down the stretch under Woodson, who said he has kept aspects of D'Antoni's system while adding in some wrinkles of his own.

The result is a team that has shot to the top of the Eastern Conference with a 17-5 record.

NOTES: The Knicks opened a six-game homestand. They don't play on the road again until they visit the Lakers on Christmas. ... New York has won the last two meetings after dropping nine in a row. ... D'Antoni said he spent his off day in town visiting with his wife and son, who remained in New York after he took the Lakers job last month.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited



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Points Bryant, 31
Rebounds Bryant, 10
Assists Felton (NYK), 8
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Kobe Bryant:

On tonight’s game:
“Melo (Carmelo Anthony) was sensational. He is in an environment where they celebrate and encourage that…he is being who he is. We fought hard. We played hard. Knicks made a run and we played hard and we gave ourselves an opportunity at the end.”

On the team:
“It is knowing the situation. It is tough. It has been a huge adjustment for all of us. We have to figure it out. We have some key pieces out. When they come back we will get this thing lock and loaded and make some adjustments.”

On Steve Nash:
“The more time we get on the floor the better we will be. A couple key guys have been out of there. Steve is one of the best passers this game has ever seen. He will do a great job of getting guys open looks and guys in positions to be successful.”




Dwight Howard:

On tonight’s game:
“This team has to work on the defense. We have to work on our rotations in the defense. On offense, we have to move the ball and share it.”

On the season:
“I’m going to continue to try and stay as patient as I can. It’s frustrating, but I have to stay patient. We can’t let it take us out of what we are trying to accomplish.”

On Steve Nash:
“It’s our defense…he will help move the ball around on the offensive end. We have to do a better job on defense.”

On the Knicks:
“We have to do a better job on the defensive end. They hit some tough shots in the second half. The ball was stagnant. We need to move the ball around.”

On his health:
“I’m not 100%. It’s going to be a while before I get there, but I will continue to play as hard as I can. I will continue to what I can to contribute and help this team win.”

On Pau Gasol:
“We have to make it work. We have two guys who can score on the block, you have to use them.”




Steve Nash:

On his leg:
“I have been running the last day and a half and been responding very well. It hasn’t been a huge load but it is something.”

More on his leg:
“I still can’t do certain things. Right now, I am knocking down hurdles. The first one is being able to run and the next one is taking some contact.”

On his return:
“I hope I can help when I come back. Regardless of who has been in and out of the lineup it has been a difficult season. Not only are we trying to learn a new system without a training camp but we have a lot of guys who have not played together before. We are treading water and we are trying to find that connectivity. Hopefully we find that soon because we are losing ground.”

More on his return:
“Hopefully I can create opportunities for my teammates and make the game easier.”




Mike Woodson:

On tonight’s game:
“You get off to a good start like that…we were clicking on all cylinders. We were pretty good defensively. Teams are going to make runs. Anytime you have Kobe (Bryant) on the floor and the big fella, Dwight (Howard), on the floor they are going to make runs. I tip my hat to our guys because they made players. Injuries are going to occur and we were ready to step up.”

More on tonight’s game:
“For the most part I thought we fought. They made a run and good teams will do that but we withstood the run, guys stepped up and made plays which is good to see.”

On Carmelo Anthony’s injury:
“Right now he is day to day. It is a slight sprain. We have to take it a day at a time and see what happens. He went down kind of hard but you never know until you get to him. He tried to run it off but he couldn’t do it. Someone had to come in and play.”

On Carmelo Anthony:
“He was incredible. He played 22 minutes and had 30 points. I say that is incredible.”




Carmelo Anthony:

On his fall:
“I just took a hard fall. It was one of them awkward falls. My ankle is a little sore right now. That’s it.”

On his ankle:
“They haven’t tested it. They did some manual stuff. Everything was there. Everything was good. Real sore right now...ankle, knee, hip. It was the way I landed on the floor.”

More on his fall:
“I don’t even want to see it. It is what it is. It was a hard foul. I couldn’t catch my fall. It was an awkward fall. Right now I am sore.”

On tonight’s game:
“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 of that.”

More on tonight’s game:
“I wanted to beat them. I wanted to beat the Lakers especially protecting our home court. It had nothing to do with Mike (D’Antoni). I wanted to protect our home court and win the basketball game.”

On the team:
“We are rolling. We are playing good basketball right now. Everybody seems to be having fun out there, everyone is trusting one another and we have each other’s back.”

On playing Saturday:
“Right now it is too soon. I am going to take it day by day.”

More on playing Saturday:
“Right now I am a little sore. I will wake up and see what happens.”




Tyson Chandler:

On Carmelo’s injury:
“You never want to see a guy get hurt. I felt like he was okay though. I didn’t know, obviously, that he wasn’t going to go back on the court. Then I became a little concerned when he didn’t come back. I talked to him a bit when he was down and he thought he just sprained it. So, I’m hoping for the best…talking to him I think it’s maybe a short-term thing, not long term. Hopefully, it’s not too bad.”

On first half:
“We came ready to play. That’s what we have to continue to do and that’s how you protect your home floor. Start off well and continue that as well.”




Raymond Felton:

On Tyson Chandler:
“His rebounding has been big for us all year. Tyson has been getting us a lot of extra possessions, batting the ball out. That was very big for us down the stretch tonight. Tyson’s been great. We know Carmelo [Anthony] is playing at a high level but Tyson has also been great for us this season.”

On attacking the basket:
“I’ve been attacking the basket all year. Sometimes when I don’t finish the shot because of the big man trying to block my shot, Tyson [Chandler]’s there to finish it with a dunk or a rebound. That’s the way I’ve been playing and I’m going to continue playing that way.”




Jason Kidd:

On fourth quarter adjustments:
“We knew they were going to come out and not just lay down. We didn’t panic. We just got good looks and if we make some free throws during that time, it kind of puts the game away.”

On hitting his head:
“I bumped heads with Kobe [Bryant] on the last play of the game. It hit him too, but it always happens to me.”

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LAKERS-KNICKS PREVIEW

By ALAN FERGUSON

Posted Dec 12 2012 6:39PM

On the verge of their longest losing streak since late in the 2010-11 season, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking for any bit of positivity.

They might have some considerable trouble finding that Thursday night when they visit Eastern Conference-leading New York in coach Mike D'Antoni's first game against the Knicks since his resignation in March.

When it hired D'Antoni on Nov. 11, Los Angeles was trying to come back from its worst start since 1993-94 and make a quick return to prominence. Instead, the Lakers (9-13) have continued to flounder, and a 100-94 defeat at lowly Cleveland on Tuesday was a season high-tying third in a row.

Los Angeles hasn't dropped four straight since a five-game skid April 3-10, 2011.

"We've got to stay focused and stay strong," center Dwight Howard said. "We can't let this break who we are as a team.

"We're not playing the greatest basketball. But there will come a day when we'll have the gun. Right now, we're rabbits. Once we get the gun, it's not going to be fun for everybody else."

Kobe Bryant had a season-best 42 points but only two other players scored in double figures for the injury-plagued Lakers. Los Angeles also allowed an opponent to score at least 100 points for the sixth time in seven games.

"We play at a very slow pace and we struggle. Maybe it shifts over to defense. Maybe we're slow. Maybe we can't do it," D'Antoni said. "It's my job to fix it - and that's what I'll do."

Before dropping to 4-8 under D'Antoni, the Lakers took some heat from Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who questioned whether the coach's up-tempo style fit the team's personnel. Johnson added that he would like to see Pau Gasol get more involved in the offense when he returns from injury.

Gasol has missed the past five games with tendinitis in his knees and remains day-to-day. Point guard Steve Nash, who won back-to-back MVPs while playing under D'Antoni in Phoenix, hasn't played since fracturing his left leg Oct. 31.

If the Lakers can't get Gasol back on the court, it doesn't bode well for them against the Knicks (16-5), who have won seven of eight and are the NBA's last unbeaten home team at 8-0.

New York is among the league leaders with 102.6 points per game and has allowed an opponent to reach the century mark once in the last nine contests. The Knicks held Brooklyn to 18 points in the fourth quarter Tuesday while rallying for a 100-97 victory.

Jason Kidd hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 24 seconds left and Carmelo Anthony had a season-high 45 points, giving him 79 in two games since returning from a lacerated finger.

"He's had some pretty good games under my tutelage but I just think tonight he wanted it so badly, man," coach Mike Woodson said. "He made shot after shot."

Anthony was reportedly one of the main critics during D'Antoni's tenure in New York, which began in 2008-09 and ended with the Knicks accumulating a 121-167 record and one postseason appearance, a first-round sweep at the hands of Boston in 2011. The Knicks were 18-24 when he departed last season but went 18-6 after Woodson took over to reach the playoffs.

One of New York's wins under D'Antoni last season was a 92-85 home victory over the Lakers that snapped a nine-game skid in the series. Anthony missed that game because of a strained right groin, and the Knicks overcame his absence by holding the Lakers to a season-low 37.5 percent shooting.

Bryant's average of 34.6 points at Madison Square Garden since the beginning of the 1999-00 season is his best on any opponent's floor.

Howard, meanwhile, averaged just 9.3 points in three meetings against the Knicks while with Orlando last season.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #7 Anthony  
  #27 HillPF #11 Brewer  
  #12 Howard C #6 Chandler  
  #24 Bryant SG #2 Felton  
  #21 Duhon PG #5 Kidd  


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Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is out.
Pau Gasol
(tendinitis, left and right knees) is day-to-day.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disc/sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(non-displaced fracture, left leg) is out.
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Magic Marcus Camby
(sore left foot) is questionable.
Iman Shumpert
(torn left ACL and meniscus) is out.
Amar’e Stoudemire
(left knee debridement) is out.
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12/13 - LAL @ NYK
12/25 - NYK @ LAL
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