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Carmelo Anthony scores 40 to lead Knicks over Magic, 114-106

The SportsXchange

By Tim Povtak, The Sports Xchange

ORLANDO -- Even when the New York Knicks break down defensively, Carmelo Anthony is good enough at the other end to carry them to victory.

Anthony scored 40 points Saturday night, including 16 during a four-quarter comeback, to lift the Knicks to a 114-106 victory over the Orlando Magic.

It was Anthony's third game of at least 40 points this season and the 24th time in his career that he has scored at least 40. Anthony hit seven of 11 shots in the fourth quarter when the Knicks (23-10) erased an eight-point deficit.

"MVP, that's how he's played all season," said Knicks Coach Mike Woodson. "I didn't expect anything less."

Late in the game when he went to the free throw line, Anthony was greeted by an M-V-P chant from a large Knicks contingent in the Orlando crowd.

"I wasn't expecting that on the road here in Orlando, but if we keep doing what we're doing, there is no telling what could happen," Anthony said. "It was a matter of us (in the fourth quarter) just getting the job done, and winning the basketball game."

Added Magic forward Josh McRoberts, who tried to guard Anthony, "He's probably the best scorer in the world right now. Or at least he's up there."

The Magic (12-21) lost their eight consecutive game, their longest losing streak since the 2005-06 season.

Anthony, who played 45 minutes, made 14 of 29 shots and had six rebounds and six assists. J.R. Smith added 16 points and Jason Kidd had 15 points, while Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks.

Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo each had 29 points for the Magic. Center Nikola Vucevic had 11 points and a game-high 18 rebounds.

The Knicks played poorly in the first and third periods, allowing 36 and 34 points, respectively, but they made up for the lapses by dominating the second and fourth quarters. They were coming off an even more dominating win over San Antonio on Thursday.

"Against San Antonio, we played great for 48 minutes," Woodson said. "Tonight, we were great in the second and fourth. I'll take it. It's hard to win on the road. We've been down before, and we always seem to come back."

It was a shootout from the start with the Magic making 10 of 26 shots from 3-point range. The Knicks hit 12 of 23 from long range, including four of nine from Anthony.

It was Smith who gave the Knicks the lead, 99-97 they never lost, but it was Anthony who followed with seven points in the final 2:30 that secured the win.

"It's the luxury in this league. He's just an extremely good basketball player. That's why he's an All-Star," said Magic coach Jacque Vaughn. "That's what it boils down to, his ability to create his own shots, his ability to change the way you play."

The Magic led, 89-81, going into the fourth quarter, finishing the third with a 10-2 run that included Nelson's third 3-pointer of the period. Amare Stoudemire, playing in just his third game this season, scored the Knicks first five points of the fourth quarter.

Stoudemire finished with 11 points and four rebounds in 17 minutes.

The Knicks led 59-55 at intermission, overcoming a slow start with a defensive flurry that forced the Magic into seven turnovers in the second period. Anthony had 18 points and four assists at halftime.

Nelson started quickly for the Magic with 16 points in the first half. The Magic scored 36 points in the first 12 minutes, the most they have scored this season in the first quarter.

The Magic made their first six shots, including a pair of 3-pointers by Nelson that gave them a 14-2 lead, their biggest of the game. The Knicks trailed for most of the first half, taking their first lead, 49-48, when reserve Steve Novak hit a 3-pointer with 3:25 remaining in the second period.

NOTES: Magic point guard Jameer Nelson finished with eight assists, leaving him one shy of the all-time franchise record (2,776) held by current Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles. "In this day and age, with so many point guards so big and athletic (which Nelson is not), it's pretty unique. He's still getting the job done," Vaughn said of Nelson. ... The contrast in experience between the two starting lineups was almost startling Friday night. The Magic's five, with rookies Andrew Nicholson and DeQuan Jones, combined for 14 years of previous NBA experience. The Knicks's starting five had 60 years of previous NBA experience, including Jason Kidd (18 years) and Marcus Camby (16 years). ... Both teams have been hurt by recent injuries to very key players. The Knicks still are without Rasheed Wallace (sore left foot) and Raymond Felton (broken finger). The Magic are without Glen Davis (left shoulder strain) and E'Twaun Moore (left elbow sprain). ... Knicks center Tyson Chandler is the runaway NBA leader for best field goal shooting percentage (.686).

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