Knicks Stop Howard, but Not Anderson’s 3-Pointers

The Knicks had once again sputtered at a critical moment, allowing the to turn a tight game into a 102-93 victory Monday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

They had contained (8 points) but lost track of Ryan Anderson (30 points). They had survived Amar’e Stoudemire’s foul trouble, but the game slipped away when their offense turned to muck.

The Knicks missed their last seven shots and scored only 2 points in the final 3 minutes 27 seconds. Anthony went 0 for 3 with a turnover in that stretch, completing a 9-for-27 day from the field. He finished with a game-high 33 points anyway, hitting 14 of 16 foul shots.

At times, Anthony has saved the Knicks with his individual efforts. On Monday, he was clearly part of the problem, going 5 for 17 in the second half, when the Knicks squandered a 7-point lead.

“A lot of them shots, I know I can make,” he said. “I shoot them shots every day. So I’m not too concerned about that.”

With the offense in disarray, the Knicks (6-7) lost their third straight game, erasing the gains of a four-game winning streak. Anthony was questionable until game time because of a sprained ankle, which had caused him to miss the previous game. He aggravated the injury late in the fourth quarter, with the Knicks trailing by 5 points, when he tripped over the Magic’s Hedo Turkoglu. Though he limped momentarily, Anthony still took the next shot, an errant 3-pointer.

Anthony said his ankle was not an issue, but he conceded that his left wrist — which was also injured last Thursday in Memphis — posed some problems.

“Even though I had two hands on the ball, I was really shooting with one,” he said. “I couldn’t really control the ball.”

As a result, he said, many of his shots were “long, flat.”

“But that’s neither here nor there,” he said. “I’ll get better at that.”

The Knicks also wasted what had been a respectable defensive effort.

With Tyson Chandler as the first line of defense, and a steady stream of double teams, the Knicks held Howard to six field-goal attempts and forced him into six turnovers. He fouled out in the final minute, going scoreless in the fourth quarter.

The focus on Howard came at a cost, as the Knicks were slow to rotate back to the perimeter, allowing the Magic to hit 17 of 35 shots from behind the 3-point arc, tying a Knicks opponents’ record set in 2008. Anderson hit seven 3-pointers, Turkoglu four and J. J. Redick three.

“We missed a lot of coverages,” Coach Mike D’Antoni said, adding: “We have rookies out there that forget what we’re doing — not forget, but just not in tune — and those are just steps we got to take. Over all, we played hard, we played pretty well.”

Orlando (9-3) entered the game as the N.B.A. leader in scoring efficiency, which put the burden on the Knicks to keep pace. But the Knicks have yet to find their offensive stride this season, or a reliable third scorer behind Anthony and Stoudemire. They produced just 14 assists.

The rookie Iman Shumpert returned to the starting point guard role and had 12 points but went 3 for 9 from the field. Toney Douglas needed 12 shots to get 12 points.

And Stoudemire played just 21:54, finishing with 10 points, handicapping the Knicks for most of the day.

“It’s my fault tonight,” Stoudemire said. “We lost the game because I got in foul trouble. It won’t happen again.”

Despite everything, Stoudemire put an imprint on the game, scoring 8 points early in the fourth quarter, capped by a driving dunk that gave the Knicks an 85-83 lead with 7:42 to play. He did not take another shot.

“I figured the fourth quarter is time for me to really dominate,” Stoudemire said. “That’s what I started to do.”

Stoudemire praised the Magic for their ball movement and suggested that the Knicks need to improve theirs. It has been a consistent issue this season.

Anthony’s dominance of the ball is one problem, but it is compounded by a surrounding cast lacking in reliable scorers.

“It’s not like he’s looking around thinking, ‘I need to pass it,’ ” D’Antoni said of Anthony, adding: “We’re just having guys that aren’t being aggressive and not looking. And we’re in a little bit of a quandary offensively. We don’t have a lot of confidence out there. And he’s attacking. He should do that.”

REBOUNDS

Baron Davis could begin practicing with the Knicks next Monday, and perhaps playing not long after that. Davis, who is recovering from a herniated disk, is running and doing individual basketball drills, working to increase his stamina before being cleared for contact. He will be reassessed by the medical staff later this week. “You don’t know how he’s going to react to contact until he starts doing it,” Coach Mike D’Antoni said Monday. “If it doesn’t set him back, then we’ll throw him into a game.” Because practice time is scant, Davis could join the lineup shortly after he is cleared, which means he could make his Knicks debut by the end of next week. “He’s going to play as soon as he can play,” D’Antoni said.

Anderson Scores Career-Best 30, Magic Beat Knicks

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.