Having bounced back from their first loss, the New York Knicks may be poised to start stringing together wins again.
The Knicks open a three-game trip looking to hand the New Orleans Hornets a fourth consecutive defeat Tuesday night.
Two days after a 105-95 loss to Memphis, New York (7-1) defeated Indiana 88-76 on Sunday. Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and nine rebounds as the Knicks overcame a season-low 36.7-percent shooting performance thanks to another strong defensive effort.
New York, which led by as many as 20, held the Pacers to 30 first-half points while forcing 19 turnovers and limiting them to 39.4 percent shooting overall.
"Last year we let this game slip away,' said center Tyson Chandler, who pulled down nine rebounds. "It's definitely the maturity of the team and obviously the maturity of the players. We got a lot of vets around here that understand that these games add up.
"These are the games at the end of the year when you are in that dog fight and jockeying for position, these are the games that put you over or under.'
New York ranks among the NBA leaders in allowing 90.0 points per game and holding opponents to 43.0 percent shooting.
"On the defensive end for us to be in sync the way we are right now, especially this early in the season, that's a good thing," Anthony said. "We want to keep building on that.'
Anthony has 46 points in the last two games after he was held to nine in a win over San Antonio on Thursday. He's averaged 26.3 and 46.0 percent shooting in 12 road games against the Hornets.
A groin injury kept Anthony out of an 89-85 loss to New Orleans on Feb. 17 that snapped New York's six-game winning streak in the series. The Knicks, 3-1 on the road this season, have won three straight in New Orleans by an average of 10.4 points.
The Hornets have given up 109.0 points a contest during their three-game skid, falling 117-113 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday. New Orleans allowed 88.6 in its first five contests.
Anthony Davis had a career-high 28 points with 11 rebounds and Ryan Anderson scored 20 off the bench as New Orleans shot a season-high 53.2 percent. However, it committed 20 turnovers and allowed the Bucks to go 13 of 25 from 3-point range.
The Hornets' last three opponents have shot 44.6 percent from beyond the arc.
"We'll fix it,' Davis said. "We'll go back to the drawing board, look at film and see what we can do better.
"We stayed in the game (Saturday) the whole time. We had the lead sometimes. We've got to learn from our mistakes. We've got to talk more. Our communication's got to get better.'
The rookie was 10 of 14 from the field after going 6 of 21 and scoring 16 points in his previous two games.
Acquired from Orlando in the offseason, Anderson has averaged 20.0 points and 54.1 percent shooting in the last four contests.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved