Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 102-80 victory over the lowly New Orleans Hornets, while the Los Angeles Lakers won in head coach Mike D'Antoni's debut for their third consecutive victory.
Anthony came out on fire Tuesday night at the New Orleans Arena, scoring 19 points on 8-9 shooting from field in the first quarter. He cooled off after that but contributed during a key stretch in the third quarter when the Knicks put the game out of reach.
Point guard Raymond Felton continued his outstanding play for the Knicks, scoring 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. As a team, the Knicks connected on 14 of their 36 three-point attempts.
Tyson Chandler grabbed 12 rebounds and reserve swingman J.R. Smith added 15 points for New York, which improved its record to a league-best 8-1.
It marks the third time in franchise history the Knicks have started a season with that record; the other two occasions - 1969-70 and 1972-73 - were the team's only championship seasons.
The Hornets, who fell to 3-6, were led by power forward Ryan Anderson with 15 points, while guard Austin Rivers added 14 and Brian Roberts pitched in with 13.
The Lakers, meanwhile, kicked off the D'Antoni era by edging the Brooklyn Nets at home 95-90, pulling away late in the fourth quarter thanks to clutch play by Kobe Bryant.
Still recovering from knee surgery, D'Antoni has been with the team for several days but Tuesday night was his first time on the sidelines.
He watched Tuesday night at Staples Center as Bryant led the Lakers with 25 points, including six in the final two minutes, while center Dwight Howard added 23 points and also pulled down 15 rebounds as the team improved its record to 6-5.
D'Antoni was hired to replace Mike Brown, who was fired after the star-studded team got off to a disappointing 1-4 start.
High expectations surround the Lakers this season after the offseason acquisitions of Howard, a three-time defensive player of the year, and star point guard and two-time MVP Steve Nash, who is currently out of action with a non-displaced leg fracture.
Nash ran D'Antoni's up-tempo offense several years ago as a member of the Phoenix Suns, who reached the Western Conference finals in 2005 and 2006.
In one other NBA game Tuesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Toronto Raptors 106-98. EFE