Anthony guides Knicks past struggling MagicApr 6, 2012 - 2:27 AM
Tyson Chandler recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 boards, while J.R. Smith and Toney Douglas netted 15 points apiece for the Knicks, who extended their advantage to 1 1/2 games over the idle Milwaukee Bucks for the final playoff spot in the East.
"I'm really proud of my teammates," remarked Chandler after the game. "[The bench] came out ready to play tonight and it came from the defensive end."
Dwight Howard returned for the Magic after missing two straight with back spasms, but went scoreless in the first half and finished with just eight points. Jason Richardson poured in 16 points to lead the way for Orlando.
The Magic are mired in a five-game losing streak for the first time since Jan. 12-20, 2007 and now occupy the sixth spot in the East, falling behind the idle Atlanta Hawks for fifth, despite having identical 32-23 records.
Howard, who went scoreless in a half for just the second time this year, was at the center of a media whirlwind on Thursday, after rumors swirled that Howard requested the removal of head coach Stan Van Gundy.
"I know he has [asked that I be fired]," remarked Van Gundy as he addressed the situation at Thursday's afternoon shootaround. "That's just the way it is. Again, I've been dealing with that all year. It's not anything real bothersome. You go out and do your job."
Howard went on to dispel any rumors about his discontent with Van Gundy, saying, "I am a player for the Magic. I am not the GM. I haven't said anything to anybody about anything. Our main concern is winning. So all the other stuff should stop."
On the court, the Magic stayed close early, using a 13-2 run to gain an eight- point edge, but the Knicks responded with the next 10, and closed the quarter on a 12-2 sprint to take a 23-21 edge after one.
After Glen Davis tied the game with a layup to open the second quarter, the Knicks put on a clinic from long range as Smith and Steve Novak knocked down two triples apiece in just over two minutes to take a 37-26 lead with 8:31 left in the second.
Richardson brought the Magic within 48-41 on a jumper with 4:28 left, but Orlando wouldn't score again until Von Wafer hit a trey from the right corner to beat the halftime buzzer.
New York tallied nine straight in the run to take a 56-44 lead into the locker room.
The Magic pulled within 10 with just over three minutes left in the third stanza, but the Knicks answered with the next seven points before Howard recorded his first points of the game with a dunk to trim the deficit to 76-61 heading into the final frame.
The lead reached 19 after a 4-0 start from New York and jumped as high as 21 in the quarter, allowing the visitors to cruise the rest of the way to secure the victory.
Howard was also held scoreless on Jan. 8 against Sacramento...Ryan Anderson missed his second straight contest with a sprained ankle...Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu received three stitches below his right eye after taking an inadvertent forearm from Carmelo Anthony. Turkoglu finished with seven points...Orlando will travel to Philadelphia on Saturday, while the Knicks host Chicago on Sunday afternoon.
- NEW YORK: 96
Apr 5 9:33 PM
- NEW YORK: 76
End of 3rd
Apr 5 8:58 PM
- NEW YORK: 56
Apr 5 8:13 PM
- NEW YORK: 23
End of 1st
Apr 5 7:38 PM
- NEW YORK: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 5 7:10 PM
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