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Knicks run past defenseless Lakers

NEW YORK - Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's old team, the Knicks, used his run 'n gun style to beat his new one.

NEW YORK - Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's old team, the Knicks, used his run 'n gun style to beat his new one.

Of course, many have used this tactic in beating the Lakers. New York ran away from L.A. in a 116-107 victory Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks (17-5) have the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Lakers (9-14) have lost four in a row.

This one was seemingly over at halftime, with the Knicks leading, 68-49. The Knicks led by 41-27 after the first quarter.

In the first period, the Knicks shot 17 for 23 from the field (73.9 percent).

Give the Lakers some credit for not totally folding.

The Lakers, who trailed by as many as 26 points, cut the lead to 113-107 on Metta World Peace's steal, driving layup and ensuing free throw with 1 minute, 27 seconds left.

Knicks point guard Raymond Felton then missed a driving layup, but Tyson Chandler got the rebound. Teammate Jason Kidd missed a trey, but the Chandler again rebounded and finally was fouled with 18.1 seconds left.

He made one of two to seal matters.

Carmelo Anthony, serenaded by chants of "MVP," led the Knicks with 30 points before leaving with an ankle injury in the third quarter. He shot 10 of 15 from the field and 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Kobe Bryant scored 31 points for the Lakers.

D'Antoni, who resigned as Knicks coach last March 14, is 4-9 since taking over as coach of the Lakers.

Before Thursday's game, D'Antoni, known for his fast-paced offense, actually talked about how the Lakers have to tighten up on defense.

He said it with a straight face and then his team allowed 41 points in the first 12 minutes.

One play in particular showed the Lakers' vulnerability. With the Knicks in a half-court set, J.R. Smith simply drove down the middle of the lane for an uncontested layup.

The Lakers still have star power with Bryant and Dwight Howard, who D'Antoni admitted is still rounding into form after back surgery.

One of the surprises of this early NBA season has been the Knicks' dominance. Kidd, who turns 40 in March, has been a revelation. He was assigned to guard Bryant, but the Knicks are also masters of helping out on defense.

Even 38-year-old former Simon Gratz star Rasheed Wallace has come out of retirement to give the team some toughness and defensive intensity off the bench.

After beginning this road trip with Tuesday's loss at lowly Cleveland, the Lakers continue the trip Friday in Washington before coming to the Wells Fargo Center to face the 76ers on Sunday.

The Lakers haven't had Steve Nash (non-displaced fracture, left leg) since the second game of the season. Pau Gasol (left and right knee tendinitis) missed his sixth consecutive game.

Very little has gone right.

Conversely, the Knicks can't do much wrong.

The Lakers made sure that pattern continued.