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Curry nets 27 as Knicks hold on to beat Magic

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Knicks hadn't won in so long, they
almost forgot what it takes to close out a victory.

Eddy Curry had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and the Knicks blew
almost all of a 25-point lead before holding off the Orlando Magic
97-94 Friday night to snap a six-game losing streak.

"We've got to be able to play well the whole game. We can't go
up 25 on a team and let them get back in," Curry said. "We've got
to try to be consistent the whole game. I mean the win was great,
but we could have very easily let it go the other way at the end of
the game."

The Knicks avoided their second seven-game skid of the season --
they lost seven in a row in December. Orlando had won its last five
and was looking for its first six-game winning streak since March
2002.

But the Magic were sloppy and lacked energy for most of the
game, a night after needing overtime to win at Philadelphia.
Orlando committed 22 turnovers, leading to 23 points.

"You can't give them points by turning the ball over," Orlando
coach Brian Hill said. "They were the more aggressive team to
start the game and it cost us. I thought we were lazy with the ball
in the first half.

"If you think you're tired, you're going to play tired. I
thought that was our mindset in the beginning of the game."

Steve Francis scored a season-high 36 points for the Magic. Hedo
Turkoglu had 16 and Dwight Howard had 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Jamal Crawford added 21 points and Channing Frye 18, sparking a
strong effort by the Knicks' reserves. Qyntel Woods scored 11 in
his first start of the season.

After trailing by as many as 25 points in the second half, the
Magic finally made a run in the fourth quarter. Francis and Pat
Garrity combined to score 10 straight points, cutting the Knicks'
14-point lead to 83-79 with just over three minutes to go.

"I think we just sometimes don't understand how we get leads,
and time and score," Knicks coach Larry Brown said. "We're just
young and this is the process you've got to live with."

New York pushed the lead back to eight, but Francis' dunk with
17 seconds left pulled the Magic within 93-91. Crawford then made
two free throws and the Magic threw away the inbounds pass after a
timeout.

Orlando had one final chance to tie, but Keyon Dooling was
called for traveling with a second to play.

Stephon Marbury appeared to re-injure his left shoulder with a
little more than eight minutes remaining in the game when he was
hit while trying to grab a defensive rebound, but returned about a
minute later. He missed three games with a sprained shoulder before
returning in the Knicks' loss to Sacramento on Wednesday night.

Orlando scored on that play to get within nine points -- the
first time the lead was single digits since early in the second
quarter -- but Curry made two free throws and the Knicks scored the
next five points to rebuild the lead to 83-69.

"Whenever we have a team down like that, we definitely have to
put them away in the first five minutes of the third quarter,"
Marbury said.

The Magic had won both meetings this season by double digits,
but the Knicks were in control until midway through the fourth on
Friday.

New York shot 57 percent in the first quarter to build a 27-19
lead. With the Knicks ahead by nine early in the second, they used
a 9-2 spurt to take a 39-23 lead when Crawford found Curry for an
alley-oop with 6:57 left.

The Magic closed within 10 with 3:17 remaining in the half, but
the Knicks scored the final 11 points to take a 54-33 lead. Orlando
was 5-for-15 in the second period and committed six turnovers. The
Magic had 15 turnovers in the half, leading to 16 points.

"We fell too far in the first half and we really didn't have
enough energy to really compete with those guys," Francis said.
"Tonight it was unfortunate that we had a bad first half and we
weren't able to recover."

Game notes
Curry missed an alley-oop, then grabbed the rebound and
missed a dunk on the same possession in the third quarter. ... New
York was without reserve center Jerome James, who has a strained
neck and showed up wearing a brace.