The New York Knicks led the Orlando Magic with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter and it appeared that the end of the fourth quarter would signal the end of the six-game losing streak. The Magic had other plans. After two free throws from Dwight Howard, a three-pointer from Gilbert Arenas, and a basket by Toney Douglas, Jason Richardson tied the game at 100 on a three pointer over Jared Jeffries with 5.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Carmelo Anthony missed two shots in the final seconds that would have won the game, and it went into overtime. Thankfully for the Knicks, they would end the losing streak in overtime, as Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu both fouled out, and the Knicks defeated the Magic, 113-106 in overtime.
Carmelo Anthony lead the Knicks with a 39 points, 19 of which came in the third quarter, and 10 rebounds. Amar’e Stoudemire scored 20 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, while Chauncey Billups finished with 17 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds. Toney Douglas, back coming off the bench, finished with 16 points and 4 rebounds.
Dwight Howard finished with 29 points, 25 in the second half, and 18 rebounds. Jason Richardson tallied 24 points, 4 assists, and 4 steals, and Hedo Turkoglu scored 18 points and dished out 4 assists. Brandon Bass scored 14 points and grabbed 6 rebounds, and Ryan Anderson came off the bench to score 10 points and 6 pull down rebounds.
This was a close game throughout, with the Magic having a 6-0 lead to start the game, their biggest of the game, on two field goals by Bass and a lay up by Richardson. The Knicks leading by as many as 7, also in the first half, 37-30 with 6:21 left in the second quarter on two free throws from Stoudemire. The game had a playoff feel beginning in the third quarter, and a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden seemed tense through the fourth.
Coach Mike D’Antoni discussed the reasons for the team’s victory after the game. “I thought we had a lot more energy on defense, we played harder, we rebounded harder, everything was done with a little more urgency and that gets you well. Guys from the bench, Sheldon Williams, Anthony Carter, came in and gave us good muscle or energy whatever you want to call it. If we can keep the intensity and the urgency right there then we’ll get out of this slump for sure.”
Carmelo Anthony also talked about the intensity. “We showed when we play with energy and intensity, we just play hard, a lot of things fall into place for us.” Stoudemire talked about the defense as well. “We swarmed the ball. Gang rebounded. We really tried to get after it out there. Chauncey spoke highly of Carmelo’s performance on both ends. “When you get him focused like that on both ends, you are talking about maybe the best player in basketball.”
Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy was satisfied with his team’s effort. “I thought our guys fought extremely hard to stay in the game right to the end. Dwight had a big offensive rebound and it turns into a foul. He fouls out and then it was tough after that. Dwight was outstanding.” Dwight Howard also talked about the energy of the Knicks. “I think New York played with a lot of energy, more than they had the last game.”
Recording artists Fat Joe and Snoop Dogg, along with talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon, Boomer Esiason, and Craig Carton were among the crowd at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks play the New Jersey Nets tomorrow at Madison Square Garden at 7:30pm.