- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHAT IT MEANS: Carmelo Anthony played just 28 minutes on Tuesday, but that was more than enough time for Melo to leave his fingerprints all over the New York Knicks’ 102-80 win over the New Orleans Hornets.
Anthony scored 29 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and handed out 4 assists as the Knicks made quick work of the Hornets, who were playing without No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, who was out with an ankle injury.
The Knicks have won two straight after suffering their first loss of the season on Friday. The 'Bockers have the best record in the NBA and are 8-1 for the third time in franchise history. The previous two seasons they started 8-1, in 1969-70 and 1972-73, they won championships.
MORE THAN JUST MELO: Anthony had his way early and often against New Orleans, scoring 19 in the first quarter on 8-for-9 shooting. He actually outscored the Hornets on his own in the opening 12 minutes (New Orleans had just 17 in the first).
But Anthony wasn’t the only Knick to have an outstanding night.
Raymond Felton had 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc. He also handed out six assists as the Knicks outscored the Hornets by 30 points during the 30 minutes Felton was on the floor.
Felton and Jason Kidd made sure the ball kept moving, as the Knicks had 16 assists on 32 makes before the game got out of hand early in the fourth quarter.
New York also took care of the ball, turning it over just six times before garbage time. They ended the night with 10 turnovers, which was their average coming into the game -- the lowest turnover average in the NBA.
DEFENSE PICKS UP: The Knicks seemed to be a step slow on their defensive rotations in the first half, as they allowed New Orleans to shoot 50 percent from beyond the arc in the first half and rebound from a 14-point deficit. But they bounced back well in the second half, holding the Hornets to 20-of-49 shooting and 32 points in the second half. They also outrebounded the Hornets, 49-36 (13-5 on the offensive glass).
The Knicks' starters all went to the bench early in the fourth and should be well rested for Wednesday’s game against Dallas.
NOVAK STRUGGLING: One thing to be concerned about if you’re a Knicks fan? Marksman Steve Novak is really struggling from beyond the arc.
Novak hit just two of 10 3-pointers against New Orleans and has made just seven of his past 26 attempts.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Knicks finish their second road back-to-back of the season on Wednesday against the Mavericks. New York beat Dallas, 104-94, on Nov. 9. The Dallas game is the fifth in a stretch of seven games in 11 days. The Knicks will travel to Houston on Friday for their first game against former Knicks guard Jeremy Lin.
16dKevin Pelton and Chad Ford