Howard, Magic dominate Knicks again

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 11:55 PM

NEW YORK -- Dwight Howard caught the ball with a smaller opponent behind him, and a Magic teammate screamed out from the bench, "Too little!"

Yes, the New York Knicks have big problems, and Orlando's All-Star center is only one of them.

Howard had 33 points and 11 rebounds, and the Magic won their fourth straight and sent the Knicks tumbling below .500 with a 111-99 victory Wednesday night.

Jameer Nelson added 19 points, Hedo Turkoglu had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Brandon Bass chipped in 15 points for the Magic, who held Amare Stoudemire to his worst game this season and beat the Knicks for the sixth straight time and 13th in the last 15.

"Right now, I understand that team is under a lot of pressure, and sometimes a guy like Amare, he wants to do as much as he can to bring the team out," Howard said. "I encourage him to stay patient and stick with it."

Jason Richardson scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter, when the Magic broke away after leading by one after three.

Carmelo Anthony had 24 points and nine assists for the Knicks (35-36), who lost for the seventh time in eight games and are below .500 for the first time since they were 8-9 after losing to Atlanta on Nov. 27.

"We just need to relax," Anthony said. "I think it's, we put too much pressure on ourselves. We're losing games that we know we should be winning and we're just putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. I think we're playing too tense out there on the court, everybody just needs to relax. Just have fun."

Stoudemire was held to a season-low 13 points, shooting 6 of 20 from the floor.

"Amare's tired," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We've worn him down a little bit and it showed tonight."

Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas each scored 17 for the Knicks, who have been enjoying their best season in a decade, but it now looks like so many others - with a losing record in late March.

The Knicks blame the difficulties of adjusting to a major trade so late in the season, and a March schedule that has them playing 18 games, with six sets of back-to-backs. They canceled Thursday's practice following the game.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2011 The Associated Press