The New York Knicks have already surpassed their win total for all of last season, and the latest victory was especially sweet.
Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and the Knicks shot 56 percent to snap a streak of eight consecutive losses to the Miami Heat, beating their rivals 98-90 Wednesday night.
Robin Lopez added a season-high 19 points for the Knicks, who won their third game in a row, and their second on the road in as many nights.
The Knicks (18-19) are way ahead of their pace a year ago, when they had the worst record in the Eastern Conference (17-65).
"We're still trying to find our identity," Anthony said. "These past three games we've shown something. And it wasn't just me."
Coach Derek Fisher liked what he saw.
"We were intense, but there was a relaxed look, as if we were in control of what we wanted to do," Fisher said. "It takes a while to develop that, and it's hard to keep that."
Playing a team ranked second in the NBA in scoring defense, the Knicks found plenty of open shots — and made them. New York's shooting percentage was the best by any team this season against the Heat, who came into the game allowing opponents to hit only 43 percent.
"They didn't have an explosive offensive night," Miami's Dwyane Wade said. "It was just very efficient."
By contrast, the Heat shot 45 percent and went 2 for 17 from 3-point range. They were in danger of being blanked from beyond the arc for the first time in nearly four years until Chris Bosh hit a 3 with 3:22 left.
Bosh scored 28 points for the Southeast Division leaders, who fell to 11-12 against the Eastern Conference. Wade scored 18.
Hassan Whiteside, back in the starting lineup after missing one game with a sore right knee, had eight points and eight rebounds but was a minus-18.
"My knee was bothering me, but I still went out there and rebounded," he said.
Anthony shot 9 for 12 and was a plus-19. In his first two games against Miami this season, Anthony shot 10 for 29 and totaled 32 points.
Derrick Williams led New York's productive bench with 13 points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes.
"When we play the way we should be playing, we can beat any team that's out there," Anthony said. "We're showing these past couple of games. We just have to keep that."
The Heat won their first two games against the Knicks this season by 17 and 19 points, but New York led for the entire second half, and the margin reached 15 points midway through the fourth quarter.
"You've played a team twice already, the third time they figure it out a little bit," Wade said.