RASHEED WALLACE delivered a hard whack to Luis Scola, then some hard words to the referees.
These New York Knicks won't let anybody have it easy at Madison Square Garden, not even the officials.
Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and the Knicks ran their best home start in 20 years to 7-0, withstanding Wallace's ejection after a mere 1:25 of playing time to beat the Phoenix Suns, 106-99, on Sunday.
Phoenix had won its last two at MSG but the Knicks have finally figured out under coach Mike Woodson that home-court games are not to be wasted. They are 18-1 at home in the regular season since he took over last March.
"His whole thing when he came in is we're going to protect our home floor. We're going to win every game at home, or we're going to try to win every game at home, and we're going to go out on the road and compete," center Tyson Chandler said. "So his whole thing is we've got to protect our house. Teams coming in got to feel like they've got to go somewhere else to get a win."
Raymond Felton had 23 points, seven assists and no turnovers for the Knicks, who last won seven straight at Madison Square Garden to open a season when they started 9-0 in 1992-93. The point guard was hurting after the game. He went for an MRI exam that revealed a bone bruise in his swollen left hand.
Chandler finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds as the Knicks improved to 12-4 overall, a half-game behind Miami for the best record in the East.
"I think they're a hell of basketball team. I really do," Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said. "When you add Iman Shumpert and Amar'e Stoudemire back to the mix, shoot, they're as good as anybody."
The Knicks shook off the first ejection of Wallace's comeback that left them shorthanded. Jason Kidd missed a fourth straight game with lower back spasms but hopes to return during a three-game road trip that includes a game Thursday in Miami.
Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who dropped their third straight and fell to 1-4 on their season-high, six-game road trip that ends Tuesday in Memphis.
The Suns have trailed by double digits in 14 of their 18 games and were already down 10 just 4:18 into the game. The Knicks seemed well on their way to eclipsing their NBA-best average of 27.5 points per first quarter when they jumped ahead 21-6 with 5:15 left in the period.
But they got bogged down committing fouls, including one on Wallace against Scola that was followed by a technical when he hit Scola across the arm after the whistle. After Goran Dragic missed the free throw, Wallace yelled "Ball don't lie!" - his way of saying the call was proven wrong - and whistled for another to pick up his 31st career ejection, most in the league since 1991-92, according to STATS, LLC.
Wallace apologized to the Knicks before leaving without speaking to the media. The Knicks felt the foul wasn't out of line because Scola continued to play through the whistle in trying to get a shot up, so Wallace had the right to as well.
Wallace has been called for more than 300 technicals in his career and led the league seven times, but said he was too old to be clashing with officials at age 38 when he ended a 2-year retirement. But he's up to four for the season now, one off the league lead.
Anthony said he thought the temperamental forward's reputation was held against him Sunday.
"I think so. I mean he's the only guy in the league that gets technicals for saying 'Ball don't lie,' "Anthony said, adding that Wallace should trademark the term. "So, I mean, that should tell you right there."
At Los Angeles, Arron Affalo scored 30 points and Jameer Nelson had 19 points and 13 assists as the Orlando Magic used a big fourth quarter to grab a 113-103 win over the Lakers.