(Reuters) - The New York Knicks remain the only unbeaten team in the National Basketball Association (NBA) after an impressive 104-94 win over the in-form Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden on Friday.
The Knicks were led by five-time all-star Carmelo Anthony who top scored with 31 points and bench man J.R. Smith who added 22, nine of them during a third quarter surge in which the home team broke clear.
This is the first time since the 1993-94 season the Knicks have started perfect through four games, halting a three-game winning streak for the Mavericks who dropped to 4-2.
“I thought (in) the second half, we kind of settled in and our defense began to click a little bit,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson told reporters.
“We held them to 37 points in the second half and we’ve had four straight games where no one has scored 40 points in the second half, so that’s locking in and taking pride in defending the ball.”
It was just the fourth loss in the last 22 meetings against the Knicks for Dallas, who missed injured stars Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.
O.J. Mayo top scored for the Mavericks with 23 but had eight turnovers in a mixed night.
Knicks players Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler played important support roles in the win against their former team with Chandler adding 11 points with nine rebounds.
Kidd enjoyed the victory but refused to get overly personal.
“No matter who our opponent was tonight, we needed to come out, get a ‘W’ and keep this thing going,” he said.
“We were a little flat to start the game, but Dallas is laying extremely well, so we knew we would have our hands full.”
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty