Knicks, Magic set for battle

The reeling Orlando Magic will try to reverse course tonight against a New York Knicks team attempting to hold onto the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

With reigning Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard sitting due to back spasms for his second consecutive game, the Magic fell to the Detroit Pistons, 102-95, at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Tuesday.

Orlando was also without starters Jameer Nelson (sore left calf) and Ryan Anderson (sprained right ankle) but got a huge performance from Glen Davis with 31 points and 10 rebounds. Hedo Turkoglu netted 16 points, but the Magic suffered their fourth straight defeat.

"Everybody hurt us. We don't guard," admitted Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy. "They played well, I give them credit but we're easy to score on. We do not guard."

With the loss, Orlando dropped to fifth in the East, a game behind the Pacers, who climbed the charts after rallying for a 112-104 victory over the Knicks on Tuesday.

Danny Granger scored 11 points during Indiana's big surge to open the fourth quarter in that one, lifting the Pacers, who outscored New York, 40-17, in the final frame, to escape with the win.

Carmelo Anthony poured in a season-high 39 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Knicks, while Landry Fields chipped in 15 points. Tyson Chandler recorded a double-double with 12 points and 14 boards.

New York has dropped two of its last three games as it continues to play without starters Jeremy Lin (knee surgery) and Amare Stoudemire (back).

"Forty points in the fourth quarter is just too much," admitted Anthony after the loss. "They were able to get some steals, get some rebounds. They just outworked us."

New York remains in the eighth position in the East, holding a one-game advantage over the Milwaukee Bucks for the final playoff spot.

Howard and Nelson have both been listed as questionable for tonight's game while Anderson is expected to remain on the sidelines. Lin is out until at least the playoffs for the Knicks, while Stoudemire is sidelined indefinitely.

The Knicks have taken two of their last three over the Magic after dropping the previous six in the series.