After Sisanda Magala had taken five wickets to demolish the Knights for just 106 all out, the expectation was that the Lions would go for the bonus point win but their own top-order wobble meant in the end they settled for a comfortable seven-wicket triumph with 11 balls to spare.
The hugely talented Gerald Coetzee (4-1-19-2), playing his first game of the competition, had rocked the Lions with two wickets in his first two overs, leaving them on six for two.
Captain Temba Bavuma then came to the crease to join Reeza Hendricks and he said after the game their approach was to make sure they won the game on a tricky pitch, rather than reach their lowly target inside 16 overs.
That they did with a third-wicket stand of 93, which was ended when Hendricks was run out for a fighting 47.
Bavuma batted on and finished with a composed 53 not out off 47 balls.
The Knights had earlier won the toss and elected to bat first, but their batsmen were all short-lived tenants at the crease in the face of an outstanding bowling display by the Lions.
Magala led the way with superb figures of five for 20, bowling at the stumps and showing plenty of skill as four of his victims were lbw or bowled.
Left-armer Beuran Hendricks (4-0-21-2) was again excellent as he removed both openers, while left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso (4-0-14-2) gave the Lions a firm grip on the game as he removed Pite van Biljon (15) and Grant Mokoena (8) in the 10th over to reduce the Knights to 40 for five.
Farhaan Behardien (28) and Ferisco Adams (23) were the only batsmen to cause the Lions even the slightest hassle.
The Lions are now top of the log on run-rate and play the other unbeaten side, the Dolphins, in a crunch encounter on Wednesday afternoon.