Still playing without starters Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire, the New York Knicks beat the Orlando Magic 108-86 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, thanks to high scoring games from Camelo Melo Anthony and Iman Shumpert.
The win, New York's eighth in the last nine games since interim coach Mike Woodson stepped in after Mike D'Antoni resigned, raises the team's season record to 26-25, climbing above .500 for the first time since mid-January.
Melo and Shumpert each scored 25 points, leading the Knicks to victory. Anthony also grabbed five rebounds and dished out six assists in 26 minutes of play. Shumpert had seven rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes on the court. Steve Novak added 16 points in 23 minutes. J.R. Smith scored 12 points, three rebounds and three assists, and Baron Davis scored 1,1 seven rebounds and six assists.
The Knicks are now two-and-a-half games ahead of Milwaukee for the eighth and final spot in the playoffs within the Eastern Conference, and are now just two-and-a-half games behind Philadelphia for first place in the Atlantic division.
Amare Stoudemire told the press on Wednesday that he could be back on the court before the end of the season. He said he aims to return in two to four weeks following a non-surgical treatment for a bulging disk in his back. Lin is still out of commission with a sore left knee, which means Carmelo Anthony will have to keep stepping up his gain to maintain the Knick's momentum.
The Orlando Magic were led in scoring by Jameer Nelson with 17 points, two rebounds and four assists. J.J. Redick added 15 points and grabbed four rebounds. Dwight Howard contributed another 12 points, grabbing five rebounds in 28 minutes of play.
Following a rough first quarter in which the Magic grabbed an early lead, New York outscored Orlando 65-30 in the second and third quarters collectively, stealing the game. At one point the Knicks went on a 21-0 scoring spree, their longest of the season, leaving Orlando scoreless for over six minutes. A final surge in the fourth quarter came too late to turn the game around for the Magic. Their three-game winning streak is now over.
The Knicks will go on to play the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, possibly with Jeremy Lin back in the starting five.
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