for this game

Magic shoot for season sweep of slumping Knicks

Apr 9, 2009 - 6:09 PM By Paul DiGiacomo Stats Writer

New York (30-49) at Orlando (58-20), 8:00 p.m. EDT

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- It hasn't been a good week for the Orlando Magic as they try to earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. A matchup at home with the New York Knicks may be just what they need to get back on track.

Coming off a pair of lackluster performances, Orlando looks for its first season sweep of slumping New York in seven years when the teams meet Friday night.

The Magic (58-20) are one game behind Boston in the race for the second seed in the East, but they've struggled offensively this week.

On Tuesday in Houston, they were held to their lowest point total in nearly two months and shot 38.0 percent from the field in a 93-83 loss. Orlando scored even fewer points Wednesday night at home against lowly Memphis but came away with an 81-78 victory.

"I'm not faulting anybody's effort. I'm not faulting anybody's desire," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "But offensively we are playing the game very poorly."

The Grizzlies came into the game with just eight wins on the road while Orlando has only eight losses at home, but Memphis held an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

J.J. Redick then scored all nine of his points in the fourth to highlight a 19-7 run, helping the Magic avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since late January.

"I think it's really important to win these games when we have a bad night," said forward Hedo Turkoglu, who had a game-high 20 points. "It's really going to add from these (games) going into the playoffs because you're not always going to have a good night."

New York (30-49) hasn't had many good nights lately.

The Knicks were in the race for the final playoff seed in the East less than a month ago, but 12 losses in their last 14 games now have them battling Toronto for 13th place in the conference.

New York was dominated from start to finish Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, falling 113-86 to Detroit. The Pistons scored the first 10 points and led by double digits for the final 43-plus minutes, shooting 53.8 percent for the game.

Knicks first-year coach Mike D'Antoni said his team "just sagged" and "didn't compete."

"Our guys got overwhelmed and we lost a lot of our mojo and a lot of determination, which is inexcusable but it happens, and that's more or less the story of the game," D'Antoni said.

D'Antoni's squad hasn't played poorly against the Magic this season but has lost all three meetings. Those defeats came by an average of 5.3 points.

New York is one of five straight teams with a losing record that Orlando will face to close the regular season, but Van Gundy doesn't want his team to take anyone lightly.

"This is a tough time of year ... I want to see the quality of play go up here over the last week or so," he said.

Orlando has won seven of the last eight matchups with New York, which hasn't been swept by the Magic in a season series since 2001-02.

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