|New York @|
|119 - 111|
The Knicks, taking on an Orlando Magic team coming off a five-day rest, had the fresher legs from start to finish in rolling to a 119-111 victory. New York posted season-highs in points and assists (29) and tied its season high in field goals (46).
The Knicks, who beat Charlotte 91-82 at home Sunday, swept a back-to-back situation for the first time this season. Overall, they are 9-9 this year in games played on consecutive nights.
"We knew Orlando was going to push it so we took the opportunity to just push it right back at them," said Knicks forward Kurt Thomas, who had 14 points and nine rebounds. "I don't think they really expected that."
Guard Allan Houston agreed.
"We really mixed it up well," said Houston, who had 15 points. "I think that's one of the things we have to do in order to go to the next level. We have to evaluate what we have out there and use everyone's strengths."
Magic coach Johnny Davis was surprised his team was outworked early in the game, especially after practicing just twice during the five days since their last game.
"There is a always a chance you can get a little stale or out of rhythm, but it's not like we were off for two weeks or something," Davis said. "We just didn't have the intensity level you need to start a game. We were trying to get into it and New York was already in it."
That definitely was the case for Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury, who bounced back from a 3-for-11 shooting game against Charlotte to hit 13 of 21 shots and score 34 points. Marbury had 21 points in the first half when New York moved out to a 71-54 lead.
The Knicks shot 60 percent from the field in their biggest first half since 1991 against New Jersey. It also was the most points against Orlando in a half this season.
"If I didn't come back and play better than I did last night, I felt like I was going to kill myself," said Marbury, who also had seven assists. "This is going to be me from here on out.
"We really moved the ball well and went through our options tonight. It's always fun when the ball moves like this."
The Knicks scored the first nine points, but really took over in the second quarter when they hit 17 of 25 shots. New York's guard trio of Marbury, Houston and Moochie Norris were a combined 11-of-14 in the quarter, with all but one of the shots coming from beyond 15 feet.
The Magic didn't get the deficit under 10 points until the middle of the fourth quarter. They eventually closed the gap to 100-94 on a fallaway jumper by rookie Jameer Nelson with 8:41 left, but Marbury made a 3-pointer that keyed a 7-1 run by the Knicks that increased their lead to 107-95. The closest Orlando came after that was six points.
"I don't care who you play, when a team is shooting and making every shot like the Knicks were, it's rough," said Magic point guard Steve Francis, who led his team with 25 points. "New York just played a marvelous game. Their offense was really clicking."
Cuttino Mobley had 24 points and Grant Hill 17 for the Magic, who lost for the third time in 12 home games this season.
"That was an uncharacteristic performance for us at home," Hill said. "When you get in as big a hole as we were at halftime, you have to almost be perfect the last 24 minutes. We've got to play better defense at the start of games."