Magic Musings: Orlando storms back before falling to Knicks

Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) defends New York Knicks forward Andrea Bargnani (77) during the first half of the game at the Amway Center.

ORLANDO, Fla. — After falling behind by as many as 25 points to the New York Knicks, the Orlando Magic appeared poised in the fourth quarter to make Mike Woodson’s shaky coaching future even more tenuous.

But despite losing Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton to injuries in the second half, the Knicks hung on to keep the Magic in a tailspin.

Magic come up short

A furious rally led by Arron Afflalo and Glen Davis fell short as the Magic lost for the 11th time in their past 13 games. The 103-98 defeat was the Magic’s third setback in a row to a sub-.500 team to begin their six-game homestand.

At halftime, the Knicks looked well on their way to a second rout of the Magic in three weeks. Their 65-41 advantage was reminiscent of the 121-83 drubbing they inflicted at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 6.

All that changed after Anthony sprained his left ankle with 7:26 to go in the third quarter when he landed on the foot of the Magic’s Tobias Harris. Down 72-52 at the time, the Magic went on an 18-4 run to make a game of it.

Felton, who returned to the Knicks’ lineup after missing six games with a strained left hamstring, limped to the locker room with 3:22 remaining after straining his right groin. Onetime Magic guard Beno Udrih took over for him and hit six free throws in the final 26.7 seconds to seal the win for the Knicks.

The closest the Magic got to the lead was at 84-83 on a tip-in by Jason Maxiell with 8:28 to go.

The Magic have gone 0-8 against the Knicks since posting a 102-93 victory at New York on Jan. 16, 2012. The two teams face each other just once the rest of the season (Feb. 21 at Orlando).


THE TURNING POINT

The Knicks outscored the Magic 36-14 in the second quarter. The 36 points were the most by a Magic opponent in the second quarter this season, while the 14 points tied the fewest by the Magic in the same period.

THE DIFFERENCE MAKER

J.R. Smith played the entire second quarter and nearly outscored the Magic by himself. His 11 points in the quarter included a pair of 3-pointers. Smith went 5 of 9 from long range against the Magic earlier this month.

STAT OF THE GAME

Aside from seven minutes by Maxiell, the Magic never went to their bench at all in the second half. Victor Oladipo finished with only three points in a career-low 16 minutes.

WHAT’S NEXT

Friday night vs. Detroit, 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Florida).

You can follow Ken Hornack on Twitter @HornackFSFla or email him at khornack32176@gmail.com.