It also set up another big one for Ryan Anderson.
Anderson scored a career-high 30 points, extending his NBA lead with seven 3-pointers, and the Orlando Magic beat the New York Knicks 102-93 on Monday to complete a perfect four-game road trip.
Taking advantage of extra space as the Knicks focused on Howard, Anderson went 7 of 13 behind the arc and is now 40 of 93 for the season. He missed all three 3-point attempts in the first quarter, but finished with the NBA single-game high this season despite having a cold.
“Early in the game Ryan was missing, but he stuck with it and he played big for us tonight,” Howard said.
JJ Redick added 21 points for the Magic, who won three games on the West Coast before finishing in New York and will play at home the next two nights to wrap up a stretch of three games in three nights.
Howard, who tied a career high with 45 points and set an NBA record by taking 39 free throws in Orlando’s 117-109 win at Golden State on Thursday, was in foul trouble and finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. The Knicks swarmed him inside, with Tyson Chandler behind him and often bringing another big player to double him.
“He’s getting double and triple-teamed at some points,” Anderson said. “He’s doing a great job keeping composure, being patient, finding guys on the perimeter, and we’re moving the ball and that’s why we got open shots tonight, just because of him.”
So the Magic turned to their perimeter game, going 17 of 35 (49 percent) from 3-point range, trying the record for most allowed by the Knicks. Anderson and Hedo Turkoglu each made two in the fourth quarter, when the Magic took control after trailing most of the game.
“It’s a matter of picking your poison,” Redick said, “but obviously if we see something early on like tonight, they doubled from the get-go pretty much, that allowed us to really play through him, throwing the ball into him and not necessarily throwing it to him for him to score, but for other guys to get shots.”
Carmelo Anthony had 33 points and eight rebounds in his return from a one-game absence with a sprained right ankle, but shot just 9 of 27. Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert each scored 12 and Amare Stoudemire finished with 10, eight in the fourth quarter after also battling foul trouble.
The Knicks have lost three in a row. They opened a stretch of four home games in a six-game span with another poor shooting night, particularly when the Magic showed them zone defense.
“We’re not making no shots right now. It seems like we can’t shoot the ball in the ocean right now. Everybody. We get stops and then at the other end we can’t score the basketball. I don’t know what is it,” Anthony said. “We’ve just got to get out of that shooting slump. We’ve got to start making shots and it makes it easy on the defensive end. We are playing defense but when you can’t score the basketball it makes it hard.”
The Knicks scored the first six points and led 23-17 after the first quarter, a lead they would maintain for most of the first three quarters. They were ahead 51-45 at halftime and still up six with 2½ minutes left in the third period before the Magic scored the final four points to cut it to 75-73.
New York led for the final time at 85-83 on Stoudemire’s dunk with 7:42 remaining. Jameer Nelson made a free throw before Turkoglu and Anderson nailed consecutive 3-pointers for a 90-85 advantage. The Knicks got within three with about 3½ minutes left, but Redick scored four straight points to put it away.
Obviously, 17 3s is not going to help you,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said. “You’ve got to give them credit. Ryan Anderson made a couple that were tough looks but they made them. First half they didn’t make them. They’re a hard team to guard.”
Turkoglu scored 15 points for Orlando, which has won 14 of last 17 meetings.
NOTES: The Knicks fell to 18-8 on Martin Luther King Day. … Though unclear exactly what the process would be, D’Antoni said Baron Davis could take part in full practices soon, perhaps next week. The point guard hasn’t played since the Knicks signed him because of a herniated disc in his back. … Jason Richardson sat out with a bone bruise of his left knee.