Recap | Box Score
New York Knicks 100, Orlando Magic 94
By Associated Press
February 20, 2007
NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks aren't satisfied with just surpassing last season's win total.
The Knicks reached their 24th victory, beating last season's total, with a 100-94 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.
"We've got a lot more wins we're trying to get, so for us to get 24 we wish we would have gotten it in the first half. That would mean we'd be doing that much better and we'd be that much closer," said Quentin Richardson. "It's about trying to get as many wins as we can so we can get one of those playoff spots."
New York is three games behind Orlando and Miami for the eighth playoff spot.
"We're a better team than we were last year," said Stephon Marbury, who scored 14 points on his 30th birthday. "It's just a win. Last year is last year."
Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry scored 20 points each to lead the Knicks, who finished last season at 23-59.
J.J. Redick's 3-pointer at the buzzer helped Orlando close to 79-76 at the end of the third quarter.
However, the Magic did not get any closer the rest of the way, as the Knicks increased their lead to 91-81 on Stephon Marbury's 3-pointer with 5:31 left.
Orlando cut the deficit back to three on Jameer Nelson's 3-pointer with 1:20 left.
Curry's ensuing dunk made it 96-91 with 58 seconds remaining, and after Darko Milicic's free throw brought the Magic with four, Marbury and Crawford hit free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
David Lee pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds and added 14 points for the Knicks.
"A lot of things were accomplished here today," Lee said. "We knew it would be a tough game. Both teams were rusty early. We got in a rhythm late and were able to hold them off."
Howard finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic.
"This might be one of the teams we battle for one of the positions for the playoffs," Howard said. "They are a great team right now that plays together."
The Knicks fell behind 8-0 before Richardson scored their first points of the game on a three-pointer with 8:44 left in the opening quarter. That sparked an 8-0 run that concluded with another Richardson three-pointer.
"Last year, we're probably doomed from the beginning," Curry said. "But this year we're going into games thinking we could win every single game."
The Knicks took their first lead of the game, 15-13, on Curry's basket with 4:20 to go in the first quarter, and finished the period up 23-22.
Orlando grabbed a 31-28 lead early in the second quarter, but the Knicks went on a 9-0 run and opened up their biggest lead of the half, 37-31 on Steve Francis' jumper with 6:10 left.
However, the Magic responded by scoring the next six points, tying the game on a Milicic dunk.
The teams traded baskets until Crawford's three-pointer gave the Knicks their 49-45 halftime lead.
Orlando's Grant Hill returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous seven games with a right knee sprain Howard has played in a franchise-record 218 straight games for the Magic. Crawford leads the Knick with 85 consecutive games played Jerome James started his sixth consecutive game for the Knicks. He played the first 5:18, committed two fouls and two turnovers, missed his only shot attempt, and did not return.