It hasn't been a good week for the Orlando Magic as they try to earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. A matchup at home with the New York Knicks may be just what they need to get back on track.
Coming off a pair of lackluster performances, Orlando looks for its first season sweep of slumping New York in seven years when the teams meet Friday night.
The Magic (58-20) are one game behind Boston in the race for the second seed in the East, but they've struggled offensively this week.
On Tuesday in Houston, they were held to their lowest point total in nearly two months and shot 38.0 percent from the field in a 93-83 loss. Orlando scored even fewer points Wednesday night at home against lowly Memphis but came away with an 81-78 victory.
"I'm not faulting anybody's effort. I'm not faulting anybody's desire," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "But offensively we are playing the game very poorly."
The Grizzlies came into the game with just eight wins on the road while Orlando has only eight losses at home, but Memphis held an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
J.J. Redick then scored all nine of his points in the fourth to highlight a 19-7 run, helping the Magic avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since late January.
"I think it's really important to win these games when we have a bad night," said forward Hedo Turkoglu, who had a game-high 20 points. "It's really going to add from these (games) going into the playoffs because you're not always going to have a good night."
New York (30-49) hasn't had many good nights lately.
The Knicks were in the race for the final playoff seed in the East less than a month ago, but 12 losses in their last 14 games now have them battling Toronto for 13th place in the conference.
New York was dominated from start to finish Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, falling 113-86 to Detroit. The Pistons scored the first 10 points and led by double digits for the final 43-plus minutes, shooting 53.8 percent for the game.
Knicks first-year coach Mike D'Antoni said his team "just sagged" and "didn't compete."
"Our guys got overwhelmed and we lost a lot of our mojo and a lot of determination, which is inexcusable but it happens, and that's more or less the story of the game," D'Antoni said.
D'Antoni's squad hasn't played poorly against the Magic this season but has lost all three meetings. Those defeats came by an average of 5.3 points.
New York is one of five straight teams with a losing record that Orlando will face to close the regular season, but Van Gundy doesn't want his team to take anyone lightly.
"This is a tough time of year ... I want to see the quality of play go up here over the last week or so," he said.
Orlando has won seven of the last eight matchups with New York, which hasn't been swept by the Magic in a season series since 2001-02.
Highlights from Last Game:
Song of the Day:
Apr 10, 2009, 20:00
im def watching this on ESPN2. hopefully we show the world were no longer an isah thomas team
Apr 10, 2009, 21:09
we still have game threads?
Apr 10, 2009, 21:38
Who saw that Ill Will to Harrington alley oop!!? Oh Weee!
Apr 10, 2009, 22:33
wow looks like we gon win this one..
Apr 10, 2009, 22:34
Orlando was held to under 100.
No turnovers for NY in the 4th Quarter. That would be good if we did that every game.
Wilson Chandler was Mr. 4th Quarter today. Who knew?
OMG JEFFRIES BLOCKED THE BALL
Might as well end the season with a bang.
Apr 10, 2009, 22:54
That was a good game. Wilson Chandler had a great game. He should have been playing at the SG position all year. He can take advantage of smaller guards with his strength. It helps that JJ Redick was defending him too.
I'm glad we won this game. It was on national tv, so we were able to show that we have improved. Besides, we need to win some games. We can't just lose every single game the rest of the year. We need to show some pride.
Apr 10, 2009, 23:37
great win and another great game for wilson chandler. we showed that we have improved on ESPN. damn al harringtons a beast
Apr 11, 2009, 00:10
lol the knicks win and the game thread is just half full, the playoffs need to start already
Apr 11, 2009, 01:36
I didn't catch the game, but hopefully this will raise the value in the eyes of some teams for the off season...it's good to see the one player I hope returns, Chandler, finishing off the season strong...I heard somewhere the other day that Harrington want's to be on the Knick's 'for the long run'..now i know what he want's means squat, but if he can learn to be a second player to the hopeful star we'll be getting, i'd say my two picks for returners of this roster would be Chandler and Harrington...and I guess Gallo if we don't need to throw him in a trade..