NBA: Anthony shrugs off injury to guide Knicks to win over Nets
Carmelo Anthony returned from injury to bag 31 points as the New York Knicks ran out convincing 100-86 winners over rivals the Brooklyn Nets.
Anthony had missed the last two matches with a sprained left ankle, but returned to action for the New York derby clash.
Tyson Chandler added 16 points and 12 rebounds for New York while J.R. Smith scored 19 points in support of Anthony, who made 12 of his 22 shots.
The Nets led 61-57 before the Knicks closed the third quarter with an 18-6 run to seize a 75-67 advantage.
"Right now we're playing in a great rhythm," Anthony said. "Guys are trusting each other, making the extra pass, and we're making some great shots."
New York's defence kept the Nets to 38 points in the second half.
"The last couple games, we thought we had been slipping on defence," Anthony said.
"We did it tonight on defence. We locked down in the second half and got some points and we won."
The Knicks improved to 19-6, the top record in the Eastern Conference, and have lost only once in 12 home games.
Joe Johnson led the Nets with 17 points while Deron Williams added 16 points and 10 assists and Brook Lopez scored 16 points and contributed 10 rebounds for Brooklyn, which lost for the eighth time in 10 games.
The Manhattan-based Knicks and the Nets, who moved to New York from New Jersey earlier this year, met for the third time in 24 days, with the Knicks having won two of the three, with their last meeting set for January 21.
"I think the NBA was trying to get it over with quick, setting us up like this - three times in the first two months," Anthony said. "They are not going nowhere. We're not going nowhere. This will be here for a long, long time."
Kevin Durant was unstoppable as the Oklahoma City Thunder eased to their 12th straight win, beating th Atlanta Hawks 100-92.
Durant poured in 41 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, getting support from Russell Westbrook's 27 points and 11 assists to help the Thunder improve their league-best record to 21-4.
Jeff Teague scored 19 points for the Hawks, who back at the start of November were responsible for one of the Thunder's four losses.
The league's second best winning streak kept rolling too as the Los Angeles Clippers made it 11 in a row with a 93-77 win over the New Orleans Hornets.
Paul Pierce was in irresistible form with 40 points in the Boston Celtics' 100-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Rajon Rondo scored 20 for Boston, while Kyrie Irving top-scored for Cleveland with 22.
DeMarcus Cousins scored 24 points to lead seven Sacramento players in double figures as the Kings beat the Golden State Warriors 131-127.
Stephen Curry had 32 points in a losing cause for the Warriors.
James Harden's rich vein of form continued as he scored 33 points in the Houston Rockets' 125-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
Nick Young top-scored with 21 points for the 76ers, who slipped to their fifth consecutive defeat.
The Charlotte Bobcats' losing streak continued as they suffered their 13th consecutive defeat, 121-104 against the Phoenix Suns, thanks to 26 points from Shannon Brown.
DeMar DeRozan's 23 points helped the Toronto Raptors to a 97-91 win over the Detroit Pistons, while the Orlando Magic made it five wins in a row by beating the Washington Wizards 90-83.
The Indiana Pacers beat the Utah Jazz 104-84 and the Memphis Grizzlies overcame the Milwaukee Bucks 90-80.
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Published: December 20, 2012 04:00 AM