Shooting guard O.J. Mayo, who has emerged as a star this season in the absence of injured Dirk Nowitzki, led the Dallas Mavericks to a 114-111 victory over the New York Knicks.
Mayo signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Mavs in the offseason and has met management's expectations, leading the team in scoring with 22 points per game during the first month of the season.
He paced the Mavs Wednesday night at Dallas' American Airlines Center with 27 points, including 10 in a key stretch of the third quarter when his team took the lead for good.
Veteran guard Vince Carter also had a big game for the Mavs, scoring 25 points off the bench, while point guard Darren Collison recorded 19 points and seven assists.
Nowitzki, the NBA Most Valuable Player in 2007 and 2011 NBA Finals MVP when the Mavs won their only championship, is still recovering from knee surgery. The team has struggled to a 7-6 start without him.
Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points for the Knicks, but he was unable to convert a couple of scoring chances in the final minute of the game.
Center Tyson Chandler scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and point guard Raymond Felton added 18 points and dished out 11 assists for the Knicks, but their normally stingy defense was absent as they fell to 8-2.
Elsewhere, the Sacramento Kings stunned the Los Angeles Lakers at Sleep Train Arena, pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 113-97 victory.
Marcus Thornton came off the bench to score 23 points and shooting guard Tyreke Evans added 18, while power forward James Johnson scored all six of his points during an 11-2 run early in the fourth quarter against a porous Lakers defense.
Kobe Bryant led an unbalanced Lakers attack with 38 points. Star center Dwight Howard was mostly a non-factor on offense, scoring just seven points in 40 minutes of play.
The night before, the Lakers had kicked off the era of new head coach Mike D'Antoni with a win by edging the Brooklyn Nets at home 95-90, pulling away late in the fourth quarter thanks to clutch play by Bryant.
Still recovering from knee surgery, D'Antoni had been with the team for several days but Tuesday night was his first time on the sidelines.
D'Antoni was hired to replace Mike Brown, who was fired after the star-studded team got off to a disappointing 1-4 start.
With the loss to the Kings, the Lakers fell to 6-6.
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.
In other action on a busy Wednesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 92-83, the Orlando Magic routed the Detroit Pistons 90-74, the Indiana Pacers overcame the New Orleans Hornets 115-107 in overtime and the Charlotte Bobcats eked out a 98-97 win over the Toronto Raptors.
The Miami Heat pulled out a 113-106 victory in overtime over the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs earned a 112-100 road victory over the Boston Celtics, the Oklahoma City Thunder bettered the Los Angeles Clippers 117-111 in overtime and the Atlanta Hawks edged the Washington Wizards 101-100 in overtime.
The Denver Nuggets pulled away late to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-94, the Houston Rockets pulled out a 93-89 win over the Chicago Bulls, the Phoenix Suns trounced the Portland Trail Blazers 114-87 and the Golden State Warriors defeated the Brooklyn Nets 102-93. EFE