Magic suffer eighth straight loss

ORLANDO — Carmelo Anthony had 40 points, six rebounds and six assists, as the New York Knicks defeated the Orlando Magic 114-106 on Saturday, Jan. 5 in front of a soldout crowd at the Amway Center.

“He’s probably the best scorer in the world right now,” said Magic forward Josh McRoberts on Anthony’s scoring ability.

The loss extended the Magic’s season high losing streak to eight games. Seven of the eight games Orlando lost by single digits.

“It’s frustrating,” said Magic guard J.J. Redick after the game. “Losing is frustrating. Losing games close against good teams is frustrating to me.”

Orlando started the game on a 14-2 run during the first three minutes of play, which included back-to-back three pointers by Jameer Nelson.

Carmelo Anthony ended the run with a two-point jumper coming out of the Knicks timeout. The Knicks went on a 0-6 run after the timeout to cut the Magic lead to 14-8 with 7:05 remaining in the first quarter.

The Magic ended the quarter on a 6-2 run as they started the second quarter leading the Knicks 36-27.

The Knicks started the second quarter on a 22-12 run, which was capped off by a Steve Novak three-pointer with 3:25 left in the first half, giving New York its first lead of the night at 49-48.

J.J. Redick hit a three with 50 seconds left in the half to cut the Knicks lead to 55-53, but New York outscored Orlando 31-19 in the second quarter, sending the Magic into the locker room at halftime trailing 59-55.

Before halftime Carmelo Anthony shot a couple of free throws and was greeted with chants of “MVP” as he approached the line.

“It feels good to hear it,” said Anthony on the chanting. “I wasn’t expecting that on the road here in Orlando so that was a special moment out there.”

Orlando went on a 12-3 run midway through the third quarter to jump out to a 79-76 lead over the Knicks with three minutes remaining in the quarter.

“They came out and made every shot to start the game and we were down. It happens,” said Knicks guard Jason Kidd after the game. “This is a veteran ballclub and we felt if we could get some stops we could get back into it.”

The Magic finished the third quarter on a 22-8 run, which gave Orlando a 89-81 lead over the Knicks going into the final quarter of play.

Orlando outscored New York 34-22 during the third quarter, while shooting 5-9 from behind the three-point line. Josh McRoberts was the only Magic player to come off the bench during the quarter.

“I thought our guys had a good spurt, a good run,” said Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn on keeping the starters in during the third quarter. “I wanted to continue to kind of ride that a little bit and see how much we could get out of it.”

New York came out in the fourth quarter on a 11-4 run, cutting Orlando’s lead to 93-92 with 7:13 left in the game.

Anthony hit a three-pointer with 6:45 remaining in the game to tie the score at 95-95, before Arron Afflalo was able to put the Magic back out in front 97-95 with a fadeaway jumper.

Orlando’s lead didn’t last long, as Tyson Chandler tied the game seconds later with a dunk of his own. New York remained steady during the final six minutes of the game.

The Knicks ended the game on a 5-8 run, as they improved their record to 23-10 for the season and jumped to a half game up on the Miami Heat for first place in the Eastern Conference.

“If we keep doing what we are doing there is no telling what can happen,” said Anthony after the win.

Afflalo and Nelson both finished the game with 29 points for Orlando, while Nelson also had eight assists which leaves him two shy of becoming the franchise all-time leader in assists.

“He was great for us the entire night,” said Vaughn on Nelson’s efforts. “He was trying to will us and that’s great to see and it shows you his growth.”

The Magic fell to 12-21 for the season, as they ride an eight game losing streak.

“Clearly, we have to learn how to win if that makes sense,” said Afflalo following the game.

Orlando now goes on the road for a four game road trip starting on Monday against the Portland Trail Blazers and ending on Monday, Jan. 14 against the Washington Wizards.