Monday, December 23, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Knicks 103, Magic 98
By Ian Begley
The Knicks walked off the floor in Orlando, Fla., with a much-needed win. But it may have come at a cost.
Both Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton left the game in the second half with injuries. Anthony sprained his ankle in the third quarter and Felton strained his groin in the fourth quarter.
Neither player returned to the game, and their status for the Knicks' Christmas Day matchup with the Thunder is unclear.
With Anthony out, the Knicks nearly let a 20-point lead slip away. But thanks to strong defensive plays late by J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, they were able to seal the victory.
New York is 9-18 and in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, three games out of first.
Melo ankle injury: Anthony appeared to tweak his ankle when he stepped on Tobias Harris' foot. He appeared to be in considerable pain. The Knicks were up by as many as 25 and were up 20 when Anthony limped off the floor. They fell apart shortly thereafter. Orlando chipped away at the lead and cut it to one in the fourth quarter.
While Anthony's injury did not appear to be serious, any time without him would be crushing for the Knicks. He had led them in scoring in all 26 games entering play tonight.
Felton down: Felton was back on the court for the first time since Dec. 11 after suffering through a hamstring injury. But Felton's health didn't last long. He left the game with 3:14 to play and the Knicks down two after tweaking his groin. Beno Udrih had been starting in place of Felton, and he may be called upon again if Felton is out for an extended period.
Udrih was strong down the stretch for the Knicks. He finished with 10 points and six assists and made several clutch free throws down the stretch.
Supporting cast shows up: Anthony's teammates haven't given him great support throughout this season. But they came up big on Monday. J.R. Smith finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. He also had two blocks, including a key swat on a Tobias Harris layup with 3:18 to play and the Magic down two.
The biggest defensive play of the night was courtesy of Shumpert. His steal and layup with 1:40 to play gave the Knicks a comfortable six-point lead and helped New York avoid another troubling loss.
What's next: The Knicks will practice Tuesday to prepare for their Christmas Day game against the Thunder.