The New York Knicks ended their six-game slide Monday night with an overtime win against the Orlando Magic by a score of 113-106. In their last matchup of the season, the Knicks finally defeated the Magic, who had beaten them the previous three times.
Carmelo Anthony had statistically his best night as a Knick. After only scoring six points in the first half, Anthony went on to score 33 points in the second half and overtime. Amar’e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups, and Toney Douglas all made significant contributions to the game as well.
The Knicks held a six-point lead with just over a minute to go, but let the game slip away on a three-pointer by Jason Richardson, that would send the game to overtime. Instead of losing their cool, the Knicks let the Magic lose their composure instead, and took advantage to grab the win.
Beating the Magic is a huge accomplishment for the Knicks, especially with how they have played since making the trade back in February. They have had a tough time defeating both good and bad teams, making it difficult to believe they can win in the playoffs. The Magic were missing starting point guard Jameer Nelson and back up guard J.J. Redick, though. They were able to take advantage of the Magic missing two of their top players, but still struggled to hold on.
Anthony has been doing more harm than good at times for the Knicks. He is used to being the only star on his team, so he feels it is his job to take all of the big shots. He has made some of them, but he has become a chucker as well. He takes a lot of bad shots instead of finding an open teammate. If he does not learn to play better with his teammates, the Knicks will continue to struggle.
Stoudemire has looked very tired lately. He has had some of his lowest producing games of the season in the latest slump, and seems to be just an extra body on the floor toward the end of the games. Unfortunately, there is no time for him to rest for the remainder of the season.
The Knicks improved to 8-12 since acquiring Anthony and Billups from Denver. The defense has had its good nights, but has mostly been out of sync and effortless. Their best defense has been a good offense, but the team seems to be tired by the end of games and either cannot hold leads, or cannot get them back.
Even in a winning effort against Orlando on Monday night, they could not hold a late lead in the fourth quarter. Since they will not be getting any time to rest between now and the playoffs, the Knicks must build on this first win and ride the momentum the rest of the way.