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Anthony anything but Melo in OT defeat of Orlando

Posted By Warren Shaw On Mar 29 2011 @ 1:47 am In Orlando Magic | No Comments

The New York Knicks were losers of 6 straight and searching for answers to their horrific 1-9 record over the last 10 games coming into tonight’s  match up with the Magic. Orlando came in winners of 5 straight and riding a new wave of consistency that had the team playing its best basketball of the season. Without Jameer Nelson (knee), Stan Van Gundy was forced to insert “The cooler” Gilbert Arenas into the starting lineup. Clearly the Knicks needed to win more than Orlando! Carmelo Anthony called the game an “almost must win” earlier in the day, whatever that means. Thanks to his 39 point outburst, the Knicks survived one of Orlando’s guttiest performances of the season to win 113-106 in OT.

Orlando fought valiantly without the floor leadership of Nelson to guide them. The game was chippy and full of drama all the way to the 1:17 mark in OT when Dwight Howard was called for his 6th foul. Then Howard inexplicably picked up his 17th technical foul of the season after rolling the ball down the court in disgust.  Howard still managed to torture New York for 28 points and 18 rebounds before his unceremonious departure. Hedo Turkgolu (18pts) and Jason Richardson (24pts) were instrumental in keeping the Magic close despite the foul trouble of Howard throughout the game. It was Richardson who hit a 3, with Jared Jeffries hands down approach to defense, that tied the game in regulation at 100.  However once Howard fouled out in OT, Orlando was unable to overcome Carmelo and the officiating. Effectively ending the team’s modest 5 game winning streak.

Without 4 key contributors (Nelson, Reddick, Richardson, and Duhon who left with an injury) Orlando should have no shame in this loss. Yes, they had chances to win. Yes, the officiating was suspect prompting Van Gundy to say “I thought our guys fought hard and stayed in the game and gave ourselves a chance to win…I think it’s a shame we weren’t able to get it done.”  Despite the Knicks desperation it was Orlando who “almost” won and are still a dark horse team going into the playoffs. Nelson and Q.Rich should be back later in the week to bring normalcy back to the Magic rotation.  Orlando faces rival and likely first round playoff opponent Atlanta on Wednesday.

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