Short-Handed Magic Fall To Knicks In Overtime


The Orlando Magic, already playing without Jameer Nelson (left knee sprain), Quentin Richardson (back spasms) and J.J. Redick (abdominal strain), lost Chris Duhon after just three minutes and had to play a seven-man rotation for the rest of the game. Despite the injuries, the Magic were able to erase a six-point lead in the last 1:05 to force overtime.  The Magic couldn’t quite complete the comeback and fell to the Knicks 113-106, ending both their five-game winning streak and New York’s six-game losing streak.

Dwight Howard led the Magic with 29 points and 18 rebounds while Carmelo Anthony exploded for 39 points and 10 rebounds.

Both the Magic and the Knicks got off to a slow start. Neither team could get much going in the opening quarter and the game was tied at 18. In the second quarter, both teams heated up and the Knicks were able to build a four-point lead, 48-44 at the half.

In the third quarter, the Carmelo Anthony show started. The Knicks wing scored 19 third quarter points but no other Knick could do much and the Magic were able to cut New York’s lead to 2 by the end of the quarter. Anthony was nearly as effective in the fourth quarter scoring 11 points The Magic took the lead early in the quarter and the game went back and forth before the Knicks capitalized on some dumb Magic mistakes to take a three-point lead with just 1:05 to go. Back-to-back three-pointers by Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson made up the deficit and forced overtime.

The overtime period didn’t go well for the Magic. The Knicks were the beneficiaries of some close calls and the Dwight Howard fouled out on a loose ball foul. He argued the call and was issued his 17th technical foul. The Magic were still in it, trailing by four with 16 seconds left but Ryan Anderson made a bad pass that Jason Richardson couldn’t handle and the Knicks added another free throw.

After the jump, you can read more thoughts, observations and quotes from the game.

Despite a few big offensive quarters by both teams, this game was surprisingly intense on the defensive end on both sides. Anthony and the Knicks gave one of their better defensive efforts of the season (and still nearly fell to a short-handed team).

Earlier Monday, Anthony called this game a virtual must-win and he certainly backed up his talk. Anthony went off for 39 points on 12-of-26 shooting and showed a lot more effort on both ends of the court. The Magic really didn’t play poorly on the defensive end against Anthony; they just saw a player with elite offensive skill go off against them. Sometimes, that’s just going to happen.

Dwight Howard was Dwight Howard. He was dominant in the paint defensively. He had his way with the Knicks defenders in the paint. He got into foul trouble, eventually fouled out and picked up his 17th technical foul. All in all, one of the most Dwight-like games of the season. Howard finished with 29 points and 18 rebounds before fouling out with just over a minute to go in overtime.

Hedo Turkoglu continued to stay aggressive and despite passing up a few good looks and getting into foul trouble, he had another pretty good game. With Nelson and Duhon out, he had to play a lot of point guard and he did a decent job. He finished with 18 points and went 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.

It took Jason Richardson 20 shots to get his 24 points but he is absolutely cold-blooded. Another huge, late game three-pointer.

Gilbert Arenas had to go nearly the entire way at point guard and boy was it ugly. He did hit two huge jumpers (one long two-pointer, one three-pointer) in the last two minutes of the game but he still just doesn’t look anything like a starting point guard. He did manage to grab 10 boards, dish out five assists and get three steals and played hard, so it wasn’t all bad. Still, he shot just 2-of-11 from the field, had virtually no explosiveness and turned the ball over five times.

Turnovers reared their ugly head again – Orlando gave it away 21 times and a few of them came at terrible times, including their botch of a late overtime, inbounds pass.

With Nelson, Quentin Richardson and J.J. Redick already out, Duhon getting injured and Howard, Turkoglu and Earl Clark fouling out, Orlando’s effort was impressive. They played almost the entire game with a seven-man rotation and with Howard and Turkoglu in foul trouble and still nearly pulled off the victory.

Van Gundy said his team “fought extremely hard to stay in the game right until the end” and despite their mistakes and turnovers, he said it was “hard for me to fault anyone for that.”

Van Gundy took the high road on all officiating related questions.

Next Up: The Magic will be in Atlanta to pay the Hawks Wednesday night.

Final Thought: Orlando gave a great effort. They nearly pulled off a victory despite playing with just seven plays.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider ( Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).