- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks held off a strong effort from Orlando to win their fifth straight game to open the season.
The Knicks are 5-0 for the first time since 1993-94, when they reached the NBA Finals. But it certainly wasn't easy to get win No. 5, thanks to a strong effort from the struggling Magic. The Knicks' five straight wins by double figures is a first in the franchise's history.
The Knicks allowed Orlando to shoot 50 percent in the first half and trailed in the fourth quarter for the first time this season. But they held the Magic to just eight points through the first 9:24 of the fourth to take control and ended the game on a 20-9 run.
INTERESTING NIGHT FOR CARMELO: The Knicks wouldn't have won the game without Carmelo Anthony and his 25 points.
But, unlike the previous four games, Anthony played a fairly one-dimensional game Tuesday.
Mike Woodson got on him several times for defensive lapses in the third quarter, and he wasn't always attacking the rim, getting to the free throw line after drawing a foul just once.
Overall, he finished 11-for-22 and hauled in eight rebounds.
He scored five straight points for the Knicks in a pivotal stretch in the fourth quarter, expanding New York's lead to nine with a little more than four minutes to play.
SMITH STAYS HOT: J.R. Smith continues to provide instant offense for the Knicks. He came off the bench in the third to score 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting to help the Knicks keep pace.
Anthony entered play Tuesday as the Knicks' top scorer. But Tuesday night, Smith was New York's best player. The sixth man finished with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting, and filled up the stat sheet with four rebounds, three assists and two steals. The Knicks outscored the Magic by nine when Smith was on the floor.
WALLACE STRUGGLES: Rasheed Wallace seems to be a fan favorite wherever he goes. Fans in Orlando were chanting for Wallace during the first half Tuesday. Maybe Magic fans knew Wallace would really help the home team's cause?
Because that's exactly what he did. Instead of using his 6-foot-11 frame to work in the post, Wallace went 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.
In all, the Knicks struggled from behind the line -- missing 15 of 24 attempts.
Wallace, by the way, has missed his past 12 3-point attempts.
POOR BALL MOVEMENT: The Knicks displayed excellent ball movement in their first four wins. But that wasn't the case Tuesday. The Knicks had just 11 assists through three quarters and finished with 15. They'd entered play averaging 21.5 per game. New York also got beat up on the boards, getting outrebounded 42-31.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks likely will have a light practice -- or take the entire day off -- Wednesday as they prepare for a tough back-to-back that starts Thursday night in San Antonio and concludes Friday night in Memphis. That starts a stretch of seven games in 11 days for the Knicks, who have the oldest roster in the NBA, based on average age (31.6).
Injuries and fatigue always are concerns for any team, but they are bigger concerns for the Knicks, who have five players at age 35 or older.
10dKevin Pelton and Chad Ford