Balanced scoring tips scale in New York Knicks' favor

By Everett Merrill, The Sports Xchange

NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks placed all five starters in double figures for the first time in almost two seasons in a 108-95 win over the Orlando Magic on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Forward Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks (25-35) with 19 points. He also had 11 rebounds and six assists for his 19th double-double this season.


Knicks rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis scored 18 points. Center Robin Lopez and guards Arron Afflalo and Jose Calderon scored 14 points apiece.

The last time five New York starters scored in double figures was April 6, 2014, in a 102-91 road loss to the Miami Heat. That group was led by J.R. Smith's 32 points. He was followed by 15 points from Raymond Felton, 13 from Anthony, 12 by Amar'e Stoudemire and 10 points by Tyson Chandler.


Derek Williams and Lance Thomas added 11 points each off the bench against the Magic, marking the second time this season the Knicks had seven players in double figures.

The balanced scoring was the primary reason the Knicks ended a six-game home losing streak. Their last win at the Garden was a 102-84 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 29.

"Part of us growing as a team is knowing where our scorers are," Knicks interim coach Kurt Rambis said. "Ideally, defenses have to honor all five guys and we really like that.

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"It puts a lot of pressure on opposing team's defenses when they have to honor everybody."

Center Nikola Vucevic led the Magic (25-32) with 18 points and forward Aaron Gordon chipped in with 17 points.

Afflalo and Calderon broke out of their recent shooting slumps by going a combined 11 of 19 from the floor. Rambis was especially pleased with Calderon's performance.

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"I have been encouraging him (Calderon) to be aggressive," Rambis said. "It doesn't mean shoot the basketball. If he is being aggressive, he is drawing attention to himself, and if a shot gets created, that is what it does."


The Knicks never trailed after the 7:56 mark of the first quarter.

A dunk from Orlando center Dewayne Dedmon cut the Knicks' lead to 87-73 with 10:18 to play before forward Kristaps Porzingis responded with six consecutive points to increase the New York lead to 93-73 with 8:56 to play.

Orlando was playing its second game in as many nights, coming off a 130-114 loss to Golden State. The Magic have lost four of their last six games.

"If there are any teams in the league that do not have an excuse for being flat on back-to-backs, it is young teams," Magic coach Scott Skiles said. "It is very disappointing.

"It was a go through the motion type of game. We struggled to find life. We are 6-19 since the first of the year and we were a good defensive team before that. We have left the page and we are going off on our own."

Lopez scored six points in an 8-2 Knicks burst to move their lead to 70-46 to start the fourth quarter. Orlando never got closer than 77-64 in the final quarter.

Anthony had 12 points to help New York to a 62-44 lead at the half. The Knicks scored 13 points off nine Magic turnovers in the half.


NOTES: New York G Arron Afflalo posted his first double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. ... Knicks F Kristaps Porzingis' 14.1 scoring average going into Friday is the highest by a Knicks rookie since Patrick Ewing averaged 20.0 points in 1985-86. Porzingis' 110 blocks are a club record for a rookie. .... New York G Arron Afflalo started despite a contused right thigh. ... Magic G Shabazz Napier was inactive for the fourth straight game. ... Golden State G Steph Curry set a Magic opponent record with 10 3-pointers in Thursday's 130-114 win over Orlando.

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