The Los Angeles Lakers stretched their winning streak to six games with a rout of the New York Knicks on Tuesday but were given a scare as Anthony Davis hobbled off with a back injury.
The Western Conference leaders cruised to a 117-87 win against a Knicks team who remain near the foot of the Eastern Conference with 10 wins and 27 losses.
LeBron James led the scoring for the Lakers with a 31-point haul that included six three-pointers as well as five rebounds and five assists.
But the main talking point from a one-sided game came after Davis fell heavily while making an attempted block with just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The 26-year-old center – who alongside James has transformed the Lakers into the best team in the Western Conference this season – writhed in pain on the Staples Center court after the fall.
Davis eventually rose unsteadily with the help of team-mates and limped away gingerly to the locker room without returning for the remainder of the game.
The Lakers later said X-rays had come back negative, with Davis suffering a sacral contusion. It was not immediately clear how long Davis may face on the sidelines.
With Davis sidelined, James received support from the Lakers benchwith Kyle Kuzma adding 16 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 15.
R.J. Barrett led the Knicks with 19 points.
The Lakers improved to 30-7 to extend their lead at the top of the Western Conference standings, 4.5 games ahead of the second-place Denver Nuggets.
Vintage Melo stuns Raptors
Elsewhere Tuesday, Carmelo Anthony rolled back the years with 28 points and a last-gasp winner as the Portland Trail Blazers upset the Toronto Raptors 101-99.
Anthony finished with seven rebounds to continue an impressive run of recent form which included 26 points in last week’s loss to the New York Knicks.
The 35-year-old 10-time All Star had not played for more than a year when he signed for Portland in November.
Yet the veteran drew on all of his experience to help Portland stage a fourth-quarter fight-back at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.
The Blazers overturned a double-digit points deficit in the final period to dig out a win over the reigning NBA champions, Anthony nailing the winner with 3.3 seconds on the clock.
“I trust in my workout. I trust in my shot. It’s a shot I work on every day, and it went in,” Anthony said afterwards, praising the team’s composure in the fourth quarter as they chased down the Raptors.
“We just stayed with it. We played together, we stayed composed. We got some stops and made some shots in the fourth quarter,” he added. “And it always helps when you make shots.”
Portland talisman Damian Lillard, double-teamed for most of the game, finished with 20 points while CJ McCollum had 10 points.
Hassan Whiteside, with 14, and Anfernee Simons, who had 12, were the other Portland players to make double figures.
Portland remain outside the playoff places at ninth spot in the Western Conference standings with 16 wins and 22 losses.
Toronto’s loss saw them fall to 24-13 in the Eastern Conference table.