PHILADELPHIA — For all the cracks made about New York’s aging roster, those old-timers sure know how to win.
Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points and JR Smith had 17 to help keep the Knicks perfect in a 110-88 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
Raymond Felton scored 16 points and Tyson Chandler had 14 to lead the Knicks to their first 3-0 start since the 1999-2000 season. The Knicks also beat the Sixers 100-84 on Sunday in the opener of the home-and-home series.
“We’re just playing good ball right now,” Anthony said. “We really locked in what we need to lock in on.”
Few teams are as locked in as the Knicks. They thumped Miami in the opener before routing the Sixers in consecutive games. Heck, they were even perfect from the free-throw line, a 19-of-19 night, the most attempts without a miss since 2006.
The Knicks busted the game open in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 21 points. They got a surprising third from 38-year-old Rasheed Wallace, who scored eight points and hit a couple of 3-pointers, including a 26-footer at the buzzer to end the quarter.
After a solid first, the Sixers fell apart, and got nothing going with their set offense. Jrue Holiday led them with 17 points.
Wallace was wooed out of retirement by coach Mike Woodson following two years off spent in quiet in North Carolina. He gave the Knicks a nice, unexpected boost in the quarter from long range. Several thousand Knicks fans came out to the Wells Fargo Center and they went wild when Wallace, a Philadelphia native, unleashed his 3-point attempts.
In his five minutes in the third, Wallace’s eight points outscored every Sixers bench player overall except Nick Young. Wallace finished with 10 points and wore a button-down “Philla” shirt in the locker room.
“It’s nice to be here, always,” Wallace said. “I’ve never really left Philly, and I’ve been here a few times, attending Sixers games, since I last played. Everyone here has always shown me love, and I have for them.”
Young led the way of cold-shooting Sixers, missing 11-of 15 attempts. Known as a shoot-first player, Young almost never looked for another option, and hoisted up misfire after misfire. One fan heckled him, “That’s why you got a one-year deal, man!”
No, the Sixers aren’t building around Young. But it’s clear they need some help outside of Holiday. Dorell Wright had 14 points, and Thaddeus Young had 14 points and 10 rebounds. The game was well out of reach by the time they started putting up numbers.
“Points aren’t easy to come by and you have to be on the same page,” center Spencer Hawes said.
Ronnie Brewer sparked the Knicks in the third, turning an eight-point lead into 18 after he nailed a couple of 3s. He finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Thaddeus Young was no match for Anthony inside. Anthony worked his way past Young for some buckets in the paint and scored 15 in the first half when it was still just 56-48 at the break.
Sixers coach Doug Collins chided his team after Sunday’s loss for playing without any energy at the start of the game. His message got to the Sixers — for a few minutes. They led 14-4 before the Knicks took control and cruised toward their perfect start.
Count Collins among those impressed by New York’s fast start.
“They, right now, do not have a weakness,” Collins said. “If they continue to play like this, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the East.”
Smith tangled briefly with Royal Ivey and the two had to be separated. Smith was even hit for a technical and Chandler was called for one in the third. Those were about the only missteps for the Knicks, who had seven players score in double digits, yet got only two assists and three points from Jason Kidd. Kidd was one of the more vocal Knicks on the bench, standing, clapping and cheering on each big basket or loose-ball hustle.
“We were able to make the moves we wanted to this offseason, and everyone has come here, has been happy with their playing time, and contributed in their own way,” Woodson said.
By the end, the New Yorkers who made the trip chanted, “Let’s go Knicks!” as they left the arena.
Notes: Knicks C Marcus Camby sat out again after missing most of preseason with a strained calf. ... 76ers starting guard Jason Richardson remains sidelined with a sprained left ankle. Dorell Wright got the start. ... Collins shook up the lineup and started Kwame Brown at center for Lavoy Allen. Bynum left in the third with a strained left calf. ... 76ers GM Tony DiLeo says there is still no timetable for Andrew Bynum’s return from a bone bruise. ... The Sixers’ ownership group donated $50,000 to Superstorm Sandy relief efforts. They are auctioning memorabilia and prizes at www.SixersOperationRebound.com to raise money for the Red Cross. C Spencer Hawes donated $16,000 to Sandy relief efforts.