Knicks return home, face Orlando
The roster is starting to get a bit thin for the New York Knicks as they return home from an unsuccessful five-game western trek to host the Orlando Magic Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks are already without Amare Stoudemire (knee surgery), Tyson Chandler (back/knee) and Carmelo Anthony (knee), and just loss veteran forward Kurt Thomas after Monday's 90-83 victory in Utah. Thomas, 40, suffered a broken foot last week in Portland and X-rays before the Jazz game revealed bone spurs. Thomas opted to play and logged a season-high 26:47.
Thomas, who was drafted back in 1995, scored six points, grabbed three rebounds and swatted three shots for New York, which halted a four-game slide and salvaged the road trip. Knicks coach Mike Woodson was pleased with Thomas' performance and grit after the game.
"Kurt deserved the game ball tonight. Kurt has been a true pro," Woodson said. "All the old guys have done their part. We gotta get 'Melo and Tyson back in gear, and get them going again, and keep this thing going because we still got a lot of basketball left."
Thomas will miss at least the next two to four weeks. Chandler could be back in a few weeks, Stoudemire won't be back until the playoffs and Anthony is listed as questionable for Wednesday. Anthony is second in the NBA with 27.5 ppg and has missed three straight and six of eight games. Anthony reportedly had a hamstring issue which caused fluid to his ailing knee.
J.R. Smith scored 20 points, Raymond Felton added 19 and Chris Copeland finished with 14 for New York. Kenyon Martin had nine points and nine rebounds in the win.
"It was a great win for our ball club. To come to Utah, it is hard to win here and to play a good team who has played well at home and to be shorthanded like we were, we stepped up," Woodson said.
Woodson could most likely use the same starting five he had against Utah: Felton, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Copeland and Martin. The Knicks, who will start a home-and-home series with Toronto on Friday, are 22-10 as the host this season. They are just one game ahead of Brooklyn for the Atlantic Division lead and third in the East -- 1 1/2 games behind Indiana.
Orlando will put an end to their miserable four-game road trip (0-3) Wednesday and has lost four in a row away from home.
The Magic dropped to 8-25 as the visitor with Tuesday's 95-73 loss at Indiana as rookie Moe Harkless and Arron Afflalo scored 10 points apiece. Nikola Vucevic had nine points and 11 rebounds for the Magic, who have lost four straight and 14 of their last 17 games.
"Early I thought we had some looks that just didn't go in," said Magic coach Jacque Vaughn. "Whether it was a putback, a dunk attempt, a transition play or an open three - they just didn't go in. So that makes it tough when you are going back on the defensive end."
Orlando, which 3-16 on the road against the East, shot 31.8 percent for the game and sank just 3-of-15 3-pointers. It managed to score 14 points off 15 Indiana turnovers. The Magic are 1-7 against the Atlantic Division on the road and have two tough home games on the upcoming docket in Oklahoma City and Miami.
The Magic are winless in the first three meetings of the season with the Knicks, who have won five straight games between the teams.