Not enough Christmas ‘Magic’, Orlando falls to New York

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Stephen M. Dowell / Orlando Sentinel / MCT

Magic guard Victor Oladipo.

The comeback effort came up short for the  Magic on Monday night at the Amway Center, as Orlando fell to the New York Knicks 103-98.

Arron Afflalo led the Magic with 26 points, as Orlando (8-20) erased a 25 point deficit in the third quarter in a game that was a tale of two halves.

New York (9-18) took a 65-41 lead into the locker room at halftime after shooting 52% from the field including eight three pointers, while only committing one turnover.

“I told our guys I’m not that good of a coach for us to have to keep digging out of holes continuously,” said Magic coach Jacque Vaughn.

New York outscored Orlando 36-14 in the second quarter and seemed to be clicking on all cylinders with contributions from all players.

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 19 points, but left the game midway through the third quarter after rolling his ankle. The Magic capitalized and turned the tide of the game in the second half.

“Momentum kind of shifted our way a little bit, and we were able to take advantage of it,” said Vaughn.

Orlando cut the lead to single digits in the third quarter behind strong play from Afflalo, as well as Glen Davis (20 points, 7 rebounds), and Jameer Nelson (17 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds).

“We really simplified things in the second half…we saw some advantages and took it,” said Vaughn.

The Magic seemed as if they would take control of the game in the fourth quarter. They trailed by only one with eight minutes to go, and had all the momentum with the Knicks struggling with offensive cohesion with Anthony sidelined.

Reigning sixth man of the year J.R Smith (18 points, 10 rebounds) stepped up for the Knicks with some big buckets, as well as some tough defense down the stretch.

“Other guys have to step up…when guys go down, other guys gotta make plays,” said Smith.

The Magic would never gain the lead in the second half, and New York sealed the game with six Beno Udrih free throws in the final minute.

 “We’ll continue to work, but the next step for us is to start the game and consistently play with effort,” said Vaughn.

New York will next play host to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a Christmas Day matchup.

The Detroit Pistons will come to Orlando this coming Friday in the next game for the Magic.