NBA: Anthony sets tone as Knicks breeze past Bulls

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (left) posting up against Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler during their NBA game at Madison Square Garden on Dec 19, 2015.
New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (left) posting up against Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler during their NBA game at Madison Square Garden on Dec 19, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS/NOAH K. MURRAY - USA TODAY SPORTS

(REUTERS) - After a sluggish start, the New York Knicks regrouped and cruised to a relatively stress-free 107-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, with Carmelo Anthony scoring 13 of his 27 points during the opening quarter.

Anthony made 12 of 20 shots from the field and gave the Knicks the lead for good on a layup with 2min16sec remaining.

He helped the Knicks maintain a lead for the final 38-plus minutes on a night when they shot 50 per cent from the floor after the shaky start against an opponent who took four overtimes and nearly four hours to lose to Detroit on Friday.

"Not only did they play last night, to start the game off we weren't communicating," Anthony said.

Guard Arron Afflalo added 18 points, forward Lance Thomas contributed 13 and rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis had 10 for the Knicks, who improved to 14-14 and reached the breakeven point for the fourth time.

"That's what you use them for, to try and turn things around," Afflalo said.

"They got off to a great 12-2 start and we made the adjustment we needed."

Joakim Noah made his first start at centre for Chicago and scored a season-high 21 points. He started while Pau Gasol rested after playing 48 minutes in Friday's loss.

Rookie forward Bobby Portis added 20 points and guard Jimmy Butler added 12 for the Bulls. Butler was 4-of-11 from the field and, combined with Derrick Rose, Chicago's starting backcourt was 7-of-21 while the Bulls shot 39 per cent and lost their third straight game.

"There is no doubt at that but you have to muster up the energy and fight through that and I don't think we did a good job of that," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.

"I just think from the jump it got out of hand," Butler said.

"(We) dug ourselves a hole. When we do that we normally don't come out of that hole."

The Knicks won their third-straight game when they held a double-digit lead at some point and matched a season best with their fourth-straight victory.