6:00 PM ET, November 29, 2009
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
NEW YORK -- Already with the best record in the Eastern Conference, the Orlando Magic might be getting even better.
Rashard Lewis seems to have found his form after a season-opening suspension.
Lewis scored 13 of his season-high 26 points in the third quarter, and the Magic beat the New York Knicks 114-102 on Sunday night for their sixth straight road victory.
"He got it going in the second half. That was nice," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "It was the first time this year that he's really gotten it rolling and that's a good feeling."
Lewis sat out the first 10 games after testing positive for an elevated testosterone level, and hadn't scored more than 17 points before Sunday. But he shot 6 of 9 and made the go-ahead basket with 44 seconds left in a victory at Milwaukee on Saturday, then made three 3-pointers in the decisive third quarter against the Knicks.
The Magic (14-4) are 7-1 since Lewis returned.
"I think Rashard, the way he plays, it just helps all of us out," center Dwight Howard said. "The way he shoots the ball, when he drives, his defense, all that stuff. It helps us out and we missed that for the first 10 games."
Howard had 24 points and 16 rebounds for the Magic, who capped a perfect three-game trip over the holiday weekend that started with an impressive win at division rival Atlanta on Thanksgiving. Orlando improved to 50-14 in November the last three years, best in the NBA.
Reserve Nate Robinson scored 24 points -- 22 in the fourth quarter -- for the Knicks, who lost their fifth straight in the opener of a difficult stretch of four games in six nights against teams playing .700 ball. They host Phoenix on Tuesday, visit the Magic on Wednesday and travel to Atlanta on Friday.
"We just have to keep moving forward. As long as we get better, I think we've improved," Robinson said. "We just haven't got the 'Ws' to show for it, but as a team we feel confident. We feel good and we just have to get ready for the next one."
Orlando needed a big second-half rally to pull out a 100-98 victory at Milwaukee on Saturday night, but seized control of this one midway through the third quarter.
Lewis' 3-pointer tied it at 57 early in the period, kicking off a 14-4 run during which he added another 3 as Orlando opened a 68-61 lead. He followed Danilo Gallinari's free throw with another 3-pointer, and the Magic led by as much as 11 in the period before settling for an 82-73 advantage after Mickael Pietrus' basket at the buzzer.
"I felt my shot going down in the third quarter and I finally started knocking down a few 3s and getting myself going," Lewis said.
The Magic pushed it to 12 early in the fourth, but Robinson scored or assisted on the Knicks' first 22 points of the period, and his basket cut it to 92-86 with 6:15 to go. New York could come no closer, and Orlando put it away when Lewis hit a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play in a 40-second span that made it 106-92 with 3:19 remaining.
Vince Carter finished with 23 points for the Magic, who were far too deep for a Knicks team that had little besides Robinson once it fell behind. Orlando also had an 18-0 advantage in second-chance points.
"To beat these guys we had to hit on all cylinders and a couple of guys just couldn't find good shooting nights," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "If you look at the stats, it's all second-chance points."
Jason Williams made a 30-footer to beat the buzzer to end the first quarter, giving the Magic a 31-29 lead. The Knicks opened a six-point advantage on Al Harrington's three-point play with 4:25 left in the second, but Carter hit a couple of jumpers in the final 1:50 as Orlando went into halftime with a 54-52 edge.
Robinson was two points shy of the franchise record for points in a quarter, held by Willis Reed and Allan Houston. ... The Knicks played without C Eddy Curry, who missed his third straight game with a sore left knee. ... Orlando's longest road winning streak is seven games, set from Nov. 3-19, 2007, its first seven road games that season. ... Orlando is 7-0 against the Atlantic Division, including 5-0 on the road.
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29: Vince Carter #15 of the Orlando Magic shoots against Chris Duhon #1 of the New York Knicks...(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||42-83 (.506)||42-83 (.506)|
|3PM-3PA||13-38 (.342)||9-23 (.391)|
|FTM-FTA||17-31 (.548)||9-13 (.692)|
|Fast Break Points||9||5|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||15 (0/0)||26 (1/0)|
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