New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Evan Fournier had a career-high 28 points,
Nikola Vucevic scored 20 with 13 rebounds and the Orlando Magic held on to
deal the New York Knicks their sixth consecutive loss on Wednesday night.
The Magic survived for the 97-95 victory when a last-second 3-point attempt by
J.R. Smith missed the mark. Smith was guarded by Fournier on the inbound play
with 3.5 seconds left and fired the shot from several feet beyond the arc.
“I got the ball too far from the basket,” Smith said of the final play. “I
just tried to make the best play I could.”
Tobias Harris added 12 points and Elfrid Payton had eight assists for the
Magic, who snapped a four-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden with
only their second win in the last 10 meetings with New York.
They salvaged a 1-2 road trip.
“It was very important for our confidence,” Fournier said of the win.
Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points to lead the home team and Smith had 19 points
off the bench.
The Knicks have lost six in a row for the first time since a seven-game skid
from Feb. 21-March 3 last season.
They led by as many as five points in the fourth quarter but an 11-2 run keyed
by four points from Vucevic gave Orlando an 89-85 advantage with 4 1/2 minutes
Later, the Knicks got within two points after Amar’e Stoudemire missed a layup
and Smith tipped in the rebound. They were within one after Anthony buried a
3-pointer from the left wing with 4.3 seconds left.
Fournier’s foul shot at the other end gave the Magic their two-point lead
before Smith’s miss at the buzzer.
Earlier, Fournier scored 15 points and the Magic shot better than 62 percent
in the first quarter to carry a 31-27 lead into the second. Harris had 10
points to lead Orlando in the second and the Magic were up 56-50 at halftime.
The Knicks had a 76-74 lead going into the fourth quarter behind Anthony’s 10
points in the third.
The Knicks also had a nine-game losing streak last season … New York
continues a four-game homestand on Friday against Utah. It ends on Sunday
against Denver … The Magic are home against Milwaukee on Friday.