The boos were heard as the game ended at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, as the New York Knicks fell to one game below .500, and 7-10 since the blockbuster trade that brought Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks, with an 111-99 loss to the Orlando Magic.
The Knicks got off to a slow start, as they trailed 19-9 with 4:53 left in the first quarter on two free throws by Brandon Bass. They would storm back however, taking a 59-52 lead with 7.3 left in the half on a pair of free throws by Anthony, and went into half time up 59-55.
The Knicks would lead by as many as 8, 67-59 on a jumper by Ronny Turiaf, but a 12-4 run by the Magic would tie it at 71. The Knicks led briefly in the fourth quarter, 82-81 after Amar’e Stoudemire made one of two from the free throw line, but an 11-2 run by the Magic, sparked by 6 points from Gilbert Arenas, would give the Magic a lead they would not relinquish.
Anthony led the Knicks with 24 points, a season-high 9 assists, and 5 rebounds, but failed to hit a fourth-quarter field goal for the second-straight game. Chauncey Billups scored 17 points, and Amar’e Stoudemire scored 13 points, 9 of which were in the fourth quarter, and added 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Toney Douglas came off the bench to score 17 points and grab 5 rebounds.
Dwight Howard led the Magic with 33 points, including 11-13 from the free throw line, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Jameer Nelson had 19 points and 4 assists, and Hedo Turkoglu had 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists. Bass finished with 15 points.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks, and Jason Richardson added 12 points and 6 rebounds.
Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni spoke of the poor shooting experienced by his star power forward. “Amar’e is tired. We’ve worn him down a little bit. I thought he had heavy legs tonight. He didn’t have the balance that he normally has.” Howard had a different take. “I think he kind of rushed a little bit tonight to get his shot off. He wasn’t patient.” Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy saw two reasons for the struggles. “To start the second half, we played well defensively. It was a combination of us and the Knicks missing shots they can make. Amar’e can have the exact same shots on Monday and he might make 13 of 16.”
Hall of Famer and former Knicks great Patrick Ewing, assistant coach for the Orlando Magic, was in attendance and received a standing ovation from the crowd at Madison Square Garden. Former Knick and current ESPN broadcaster Mark Jackson, who was unable to attend Legend’s Night on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 due to the death of his brother, was honored by the Knicks during the game. Former Knick John Starks made the presentation. For Knicks Bernard King and Earl Monroe were also in attendance.
Legendary singer Aretha Franklin and film-maker Spike Lee were among the sell-out crowd of 19,763.
The Knicks host the Milwaukee Bucks tonight at Madison Square Garden at 7:30pm.