NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, March 23rd (All times eastern)
Orlando Magic (45-26) at New York Knicks (35-35), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The slumping New York Knicks hope to stem the tide Wednesday when they welcome the playoff-bound Orlando Magic to historic Madison Square Garden.
Although still in very solid shape to halt their long playoff drought the Knicks have lost six of seven games after Monday's 96-86 setback to Boston in Manhattan. Kevin Garnett scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, triggering Boston's furious fourth-quarter rally in that one as the Celtics rolled past a stunned New York team.
The Knicks appeared to have the game in hand, leading by double digits for the better part of three quarters, only to be out-worked, out-hustled, and out- executed by Boston, which outscored New York by 16 points in the final period.
"We got stagnant offensively, a lot of tough shots with the clock running low," Stoudemire said about the fourth-quarter collapse.
Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points, yet sat on the bench with a look of disbelief after a nine-point lead fizzled into a 10-point defeat over the game's final seven-plus minutes. Chauncey Billups added 21 points, while Amare Stoudemire totaled 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks, who have dropped three games in a row to fall to .500 (35-35).
New York is now a pedestrian 7-9 since acquiring Anthony and Billups in a blockbuster deal from Denver. The Knicks are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference, 4 1/2 games ahead of No. 8 Indiana and a very comfortable 6 1/2 ahead of Milwaukee and Charlotte.
The Magic, meanwhile, won their third straight on Monday in Cleveland when Dwight Howard led the way with 28 points and 18 rebounds, as Orlando earned a 97-86 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loan Arena.
Brandon Bass went for 22 points and six boards, while Ryan Anderson chipped in 12 points off the bench for Orlando, which edged Denver 85-82 on Friday when Jameer Nelson hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Magic have now won four of their last five overall.
Orlando also completed a four-game sweep of the Cavaliers in the season series. Jason Richardson finished with 11 points and Nelson ended with eight points, eight assists and six rebounds for the victors.
"Our guys did a good job of getting Dwight the ball," said Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy. "He was just overwhelming out there tonight and he's tough to stop when he's playing like that."
The Magic, who have won five straight and eight of nine over the Knicks, sit in fourth place in the East, 3 1/2 games behind third-place Miami and five games clear of fifth-place Atlanta.
03/23 10:56:39 ET