Magic at Knicks game preview
The Knicks ended their nine-game skid by cruising to victory in Brooklyn.
Now they have to prove they can win again in their own borough.
New York will be out to avoid its longest single-season home slide in 50 years but may like its chances Friday night against the Orlando Magic.
The Knicks (4-13) won 113-83 over the city rival Nets on Thursday as they made a season-high 16 3-pointers in 27 attempts. Their slide was the club’s longest in a single season since it ended a 24-58 campaign in 1984-85 by losing 12 in a row.
“I think everybody looked like they had that feeling that we were tired of losing,” said Carmelo Anthony, who led six Knicks in double figures with 19 points to go with 10 rebounds and six assists. “It showed from the tipoff.”
New York has lost seven in a row in Manhattan since a season-opening 90-83 victory over Milwaukee on Oct. 30, and last dropped eight straight at home in a single season Nov. 26-Dec. 19, 1963. The Knicks’ last eight-game home slide came when they lost the last five at Madison Square Garden in 1984-85 and the first three there the next season.
The Knicks have won six straight over Orlando (6-12), which is making its third stop on a six-game trip.
The Magic played without Nik Vucevic (sprained left ankle) and point guard Jameer Nelson (sprained left foot) as they fought valiantly in a 126-125 double-overtime loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday. Arron Afflalo scored a career-high 43 points.
“It’s was a long game and, to lose by a point, that was tough,” Afflalo said.
Vucevic, who missed his first game, is second on the team with 14.7 points per game and leads Orlando with 10.9 rebounds per game. Nelson, averaging a team-best 6,1 assists, has missed the last three games.
Both are listed as day to day and were hopeful of returning Friday.
Their absences would again put more of the scoring load on Afflalo, a former Denver teammate of Anthony who leads the Magic with 22.6 points per game.
One Orlando player looking forward to Friday is Glen Davis, who will play at MSG for the first time since he broke his left foot there in a 113-97 loss on Jan. 30.
Davis scored 33 on Tuesday and rookie Victor Oladipo had 26 – both season highs. Their output combined with Afflalo’s made them the highest-scoring trio in a game in Magic history.
The Knicks also enjoyed a rare display of offense Thursday as they shot a season-high 57.1 percent in their highest-scoring game of the season. New York entered the night as the fifth-lowest scoring team in the NBA at 92.8 points per game.
“The most important thing is that we won the game, we played a great game and we’ve really got to start to build on this,” center Andrea Bargnani said.
Anthony averaged 26.5 points in last season’s four-game sweep of Orlando, including a 40-point effort Jan. 5 that marked the highest effort by a Knicks player versus the Magic.