Here we go again
L
95
105
New York @ Orlando
95 - 105
Record: 7-20
Eddy Curry's 29 points and 9 rebounds couldn't make the difference
Eddy Curry's 29 points and 9 rebounds couldn't make the difference
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Grant Hill 's return has made the Orlando Magic a better team.

In his seventh game back from surgery, Hill made several key baskets and scored 26 points, and Steve Francis had 17 points and six assists as the Magic beat the New York Knicks 105-95 Wednesday night.

''You can't say too much about Grant,'' Magic guard DeShawn Stevenson said. ''He does everything. Guards, defends, and gets into the penalty. I think he played awesome tonight and he's our leader. We've got to feed off him.''

The Magic spoiled a strong performance by New York's Eddy Curry . Playing in just his second game after missing four straight with a sprained ankle, Curry had a season-high 29 points and nine rebounds. However, he left in the fourth quarter with a strained right calf.

''It makes me mad because I felt like we had a chance to win the game,'' said Curry, adding he would try to play the next game. ''I felt like I let my team down.''

With 27 offensive rebounds, the Knicks had plenty of chances to score, but shot just 36 percent. New York's reserves outscored its starters 75-20 - helped by Curry and 24 points from Jamal Crawford . Stephon Marbury had five points, shooting 0-for-7 from the field.

The Knicks fell to 2-11 this month and 7-20 overall.

The Knicks didn't make a fourth-quarter field goal until 8:14 was left in the period, and only Curry kept them in it at first, making two free throws, a layup and a three-point play on consecutive possessions.

Crawford's 3-pointer got New York within six points with 2:11 left, but Hill made two free throws a minute later to ice the game.

Hill scored 12 points in a span of nearly nine minutes in the third quarter to build Orlando's lead to 76-65 with 3:15 left in the period.

''I've played 35 and 38 minutes the last two games. I'm not laboring out there, I'm not tired. I'm getting my second wind,'' Hill said. ''I feel better - hopefully that'll continue. Not necessarily by scoring points every night, but just being able to contribute and not feeling lost and out of shape and out of rhythm like I did last week.''

All five Magic starters scored in double figures. Stevenson had 14 points, Tony Battie had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Dwight Howard had 11 points and eight rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

The Magic scored 11 fast-break points and 20 in the paint in the first quarter, opening a 28-18 lead after the Knicks shot 26 percent. But Curry brought New York back in the second, scoring 14 of his 16 first-half points. He blocked Howard's layup attempt and ran the court for a layup feed from Marbury that drew New York to 41-39 with 3:51 left in the half.

Howard responded with two free throws and a spin dunk around Curry to help the Magic take a 52-46 halftime lead.

Knicks starter Quentin Richardson left with 6:05 remaining in the half because of back spasms. He had six points and six rebounds in 16 minutes.

Notes: The Knicks activated F David Lee and placed F-G Qyntel Woods on the inactive list. Lee ended up starting, giving New York its 18th different lineup of the season. He was scoreless in 14 minutes. ... The Knicks are 0-6 on the road against Eastern Conference teams. ... Orlando has won four of its last five against the Knicks. ... Curry finished two points shy of a career high.

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