The Orlando Magic could be in for a long one when they entertain Carmelo Anthony and the unbeaten New York Knicks Tuesday at Amway Center.
The high-scoring Knicks, who are second in the NBA with 104.5 ppg, have won their first four games of the season for the first time since opening the 1993-94 campaign with seven straight wins. They lost in seven games to the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals that year.
Optimism has filled New York with how well the Knickerbockers are playing, especially Anthony. Fresh off a gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Anthony leads the league with 27.3 ppg and pumped in a season-high 31 points in Friday's 104-94 win versus the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden. He made 10 of his 22 shots from the floor and grabbed seven rebounds, while J.R. Smith netted 22 points off the bench. Smith has at least 17 in three straight games.
"Tonight, Dallas got off to a great start in the first half," said Anthony, who scored 19 points in the first half. "We just had to buckle down defensively and win the basketball game."
Ronnie Brewer finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for New York, which converted 20 Dallas turnovers into 20 points and held the Mavericks to 37 points over the final two quarters.
Knicks center Marcus Camby made his season debut after sitting out the first three games due to injury. Camby had two points in 8:02 of action.
New York will play three straight and six of the next seven games on the road, where it is 1-0 on the season.
While the Knicks enter Tuesday's game on a season-opening four-game winning streak, the Magic have lost four in a row since a 2-0 start.
Orlando suffered an 82-74 setback at Brooklyn on Sunday, as Glen Davis registered 19 points and 10 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic contributed 14 points and 12 boards, while Arron Afflalo netted 19 points for Orlando, which lost the home-and-home set with the Nets and shot a paltry 36.1 percent. The Magic did pull within 77-72 late in the game, but didn't get any closer.
"Overall, I was pleased with the fight that we had tonight," Magic head coach Jacque Vaughn said.
Vaughn couldn't have been pleased with his team's shoddy 1-for-12 performance from 3-point territory. The last time Orlando dropped five in a row was from March 28-April 5 last season.
The Magic have been dealing with injuries and hope to have point guard Jameer Nelson back Tuesday. Nelson has missed the last five games with a leg injury and is questionable versus the Knicks. So is rookie forward DeQuan Jones, who is nursing a strained groin. Sharp-shooting forward Hedo Turkoglu is still sidelined after undergoing surgery on a broken hand.
After hosting New York, the Magic will open a three-game road trip against Detroit, Toronto and Atlanta. Orlando is 2-1 as the host and 0-3 on the road.
New York won two of three meetings with Orlando last season, but the Magic have prevailed in seven of the past 10 matchups overall thanks in large part to former centerpiece Dwight Howard. The Knicks ended a four-game slide as the guest in this series with a 96-80 victory last April 5.
Anthony averaged 25.7 points and 7.0 rebounds against Orlando in 2011-12, while Davis posted 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in that span for the Magic.