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Anthony scores 30 as Knicks beat slumping Lakers

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Anthony scores 30 as Knicks beat slumping Lakers

NEW YORK (AP) The pregame boos had barely finished, and Mike D'Antoni suddenly had much bigger problems.

Carmelo Anthony had three 3-pointers in less than three minutes, and a look in his eye that he couldn't be stopped.

``He has those games where he does that,'' D'Antoni said. ``And when he does that, the Knicks are awfully tough to beat, obviously.''

Especially for a team struggling like D'Antoni's Lakers.

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 Los Angeles 116-107 in D'Antoni's return to Madison Square Garden.

``I was zoned in. I was locked in,'' Anthony said. ``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.''

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.

``I wanted to beat them. I wanted to beat the Lakers, especially protecting our home court,'' Anthony said. ``It had nothing to do with Mike. I wanted to protect our home court and win the basketball game.''

Meanwhile, things are starting as poorly for D'Antoni in Los Angeles as they ended for him 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.

Nash has started running and the Lakers know things will get better once he's back, but that doesn't help right now.

``At this point I wish we had the Washington Generals on our schedule,'' Kobe Bryant said.

They're playing Washington on Friday, but it's the Wizards.

Raymond Felton scored 19 points, and Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith added 18 apiece for the Knicks.

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.

``He's fun to watch when he's playing like that,'' Chandler said. ``He's pretty much unstoppable when he's playing that way.''

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 in the second half.

Anthony said his ankle felt sore and he didn't know if he would be available Saturday against Cleveland.

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.

``We are having a re-occurring theme that the first quarter is just not good, and then the first half is not great and in the second half we seem to turn it on, and we need to solve that problem real quick,'' D'Antoni said.

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 booed loudly 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, the Knicks 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.

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Davis Bertans reinforces status as Wizards' best offseason addition in win over 76ers

Davis Bertans reinforces status as Wizards' best offseason addition in win over 76ers

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 119-113 on Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. The Wizards entered this season with the understanding they probably wouldn't make the playoffs. They wanted to play hard and be a team capable of pulling off upsets on nights their effort and scrappy play caught opponents off guard.

They wanted to have games like they had on Thursday night. For the first time this season, the Wizards jumped all over a very good team and held on for a victory.

The Wizards took out the Sixers 119-113 for what is so far their signature win of the season. Philly is one of the best teams in the East at 15-7 and it was mostly healthy, unlike the Wizards.

Washington snapped a three-game skid as it now flies to Miami for battle with the Heat, who may be the surprise team of the NBA so far this season with a 15-6 record.

2. Though it's not showing in the standings, the Wizards did a nice job in the offseason in flipping their roster and creating long-term financial flexibility. Their most impressive move may have been trading for Davis Bertans.

Bertans was essentially stolen from the San Antonio Spurs for Aaron White, who was likely to never play for the Wizards. And all Bertans has done is thrive in an expanded role with the green light to shoot as often as he wants.

Bertans was lights-out on Thursday with 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting. He set a career high with seven threes, going 7-for-13 from the perimeter. Bertans had 20 points and was 6-for-6 from three in the first half, tying his previous career high for makes.

As I've mentioned before, Bertans is going to be a commodity come the trade deadline and that is going to force a tough decision for the Wizards, whether to trade him or keep him and try to work out an extension in the offseason. If they are offered a first-round pick, it will be hard to pass up.

But there is an argument either way to hold on to him because he is such a good shooter. Just imagine how well he would fit with John Wall.

3. Rookie Rui Hachimura also had a huge game in what was his first career meeting with the Sixers. He popped off for 15 points in the second quarter and ended up with 27 points and six boards.

Hachimura did all of this while dealing with Al Horford and Joel Embiid down low and guarding those guys on the other end. He also spent some time checking Tobias Harris, so there was a lot on his plate.

Hachimura got many of his points with his bread-and-butter midrange game. He made one three and found trouble getting around Embiid at the rim. 

Hachimura took what the defense gave him and it worked. There were several occasions where defenders just let him take long twos and he made them.

Head coach Scott Brooks was just talking pregame about why the Wizards are okay with him living in the midrange, if that's what he is most comfortable with at this point. Good timing with those comments.

Hachimura, by the way, is averaging 22 points over his last four games while shooting 54.4 percent from the field (37-for-68).

4. The Wizards shared some good news on the injury front before the game as both of their backup centers returned. Moe Wagner, who was nursing a left ankle injury, came back after missing two games. And Ian Mahinmi made his season debut after missing two-plus months with an Achilles strain.

Wagner was put in the starting lineup due to Thomas Bryant's absence and, though he did not have his usual scoring numbers, he did what he could to bother Embiid and give the Wizards energy. Wagner finished with five points and 11 rebounds.

Mahinmi played surprisingly well, all things considered. He had some bad moments, some due to rust. Be he did a solid job guarding Embiid, which is no easy task. The Wizards also helped him out with double teams.

The best part of Mahinmi's night, though, was right when he checked in. He has developed a reputation for getting in foul trouble and, sure enough, he got one on his very first play.

5. Though the Wizards got two players back from injury on Thursday, they also lost two. Jordan McRae will be out a few weeks after having a second surgery on his right ring finger. And, in a bigger surprise, starting point guard Isaiah Thomas was a late scratch with a left calf strain.

The Thomas one is a newly disclosed injury and at this point it's unclear if he will miss any more time. But it was enough for him to sit after he had played in 17 straight.

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Win of the season? Undermanned Wizards beat 76ers

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Win of the season? Undermanned Wizards beat 76ers

The Wizards pulled off their best win of the season Thursday night by defeating on of the top teams in the East in the Sixers at home. 

On the backs of a superb first half by Davis Bertans and great defense on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Wizards snapped a three-game losing streak before they head to Miami. 

Here are the top moments from the game:

Bertans goes nuts from three

Davis Bertans set a career-high in three-pointers made Thursday night by hitting seven of his 13 attempts from deep. 

Six of them, however, came in the second quarter without a miss. 

Bradley Beal struggled in the game with Ben Simmons defending him, so Bertans giving the Wizards a lift helped them build a 10-point lead into the break and maintain it late into the second half. 

Chiozza with the steal, Mahinmi follows up the miss

With Isaiah Thomas out with a calf strain, the Wizards turned to two-way guard Chris Chiozza for some minutes off the bench.

He didn't score in his 11 minutes, but he provided a key steal of Joel Embiid that led to two points from Ian Mahinmi. 

Mahinmi's hustle here was not something we've much from the Wizards this season, so it's plays like these that led Washington to their best win of the season. 

Bertans misses? Wizards still get three points

As we stated already, Bertans was the star of the night shooting the ball, but the second half brought a few ugly misses from three. 

On his first shot since going 6-6 in the second quarter, Bertans fired a three off the side of the backboard. Luckily enough, Beal came up with the ball and drained a wide-open three. 

When it's your night, it's your night. 

The Wizards will look to keep the momentum going Friday night as they travel to Miami to take on Jimmy Butler and the Heat. You can watch the game at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington. 

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