The New York Knicks beat the beleaguered Orlando Magic 96-80 on Thursday, with New York's Carmelo Anthony scoring 19 points while a subdued Dwight Howard could manage just eight for the Magic.

Orlando's defeat came hours after coach Stan Van Gundy had told reporters he had been informed top player Howard wanted him fired. Howard later denied seeking Van Gundy's dismissal.

Jason Richardson had 16 points and Glen Davis 15 for Orlando, who lost their fifth consecutive game.

Both teams remain in the playoff hunt with the Magic standing sixth in the Eastern Conference and the Knicks holding down the eighth and final spot.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina)