Knicks 103, Magic 98

Tim Povtak, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The New York Knicks escaped with a 103-98 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night after blowing a 25-point third-quarter lead and losing forward Carmelo Anthony and point guard Raymond Felton in the second half.
Anthony left with a left ankle sprain in the third quarter and Felton with a strained right groin in the fourth.
Anthony still led the Knicks (9-18) with 19 points. Reserve guard J.R. Smith had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Center Tyson Chandler had 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
The Magic (8-20) were led by guard Arron Afflalo with 26 points and forward Glen Davis with 20. Center Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Magic closed that 25-point gap to just one point early in fourth quarter, then again pulled within 91-89 and 93-91 late in the game. Although the Magic never led in the second half, the Knicks need a strong finish to secure the victory. Reserve guard Beno Udrih made six consecutive free throws in the final 1:30.
The Knicks beat the Magic in New York earlier this month by 38 points.
Anthony, who has led the Knicks in scoring in every game this season, limped off the court midway in the third period with the Knicks still leading 72-52. He twisted his left ankle when he landed on the foot of Orlando's Tobias Harris under the New York basket.
Earlier in the period, Anthony was called for a technical foul after complaining about not getting a foul called against his defender.
Felton, who returned to action Monday after missing the previous six games with a hamstring strain, left the game with 3:14 remaining and was helped off the court by the medical staff.
The Magic closed to within 84-83 early in the fourth on a put-back by reserve forward Jason Maxiell, but the Knicks.
The Magic dominated the third quarter, cutting a 25-point deficit to just six. The Knicks still led 84-76 when the fourth period began. The Knicks, who had just one turnover in the first half, had five turnovers in the third period. Afflalo had 10 points and forward Glen Davis nine to lead the Magic's third-quarter turnaround.
The Knicks led 65-41 at halftime, riding a second-quarter blitz that included 11 points from J.R. Smith and nine from Anthony. After a tight first period, the Knicks outscored the Magic 36-14 in the second quarter.
The Magic led by as many seven points early when they made seven of their first eight shots. The Knicks made their first four 3-point attempts and led 29-27 after the first quarter.
Knicks guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. scored five quick points early in the second period to start their run. Smith followed with another five points that opened a 43-32 Knicks lead. The Magic made only four of 17 shots in that disastrous second period.
NOTES: Knicks G Raymond Felton returned to the lineup Monday for the first time since Dec. 11. Felton has been hampered by a hamstring injury since the preseason. He played in just his 17th game Monday. "I don't know if he'll ever be 100 percent (this season)," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. ...Veteran F Metta World Peace said before the game that he will undergo platelet-rich plasma therapy on his left knee Jan. 6, a procedure made popular by Kobe Bryant. World Peace already has had his knee drained twice this season, but with limited results. He missed his second consecutive game Monday. ...The Knicks came into Monday with a seven-game winning streak against the Magic, tied for their longest current winning streak against any team. ... The Magic were without G E'Twaun Moore because of a right thigh contusion, sustained last week in practice. ... Woodson said before the game that the 4-10 record at Madison Square Garden has bothered him more than any of the struggles on the road. "We just haven't been able to win at home, and it shouldn't be that way. We've got it backwards," he said. "If you're talking about winning your division -- which I still think we can -- then we've got to pick it up at home."

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