NEW YORK — The Orlando Magic started Friday night's game against the New York Knicks well.
In the first few minutes, Jameer Nelson threw a pinpoint bounce pass that Arron Afflalo converted into a layup. Nelson hit a 3-pointer. Victor Oladipo sank two 3-pointers.
"That seems so long ago, that first quarter," coach Jacque Vaughn said afterward.
All too true. After that first quarter, everything collapsed for the Magic: their 3-point defense, the pace of their offense and, seemingly, their will to compete.
New York crushed Orlando 121-83 at Madison Square Garden in a victory so total that it washed away the stink of the Knicks' awful start to this season.
"We were playing great ball, good defense and helping each other," New York point guard Raymond Felton said. "We are playing Knicks basketball right now."
Carmelo Anthony scored 20 points and collected 11 rebounds, and the Knicks made 17 of their 34 shots from beyond the arc.
After the end of the first quarter, it seemed like each Knicks 3 that fell through the hoop deflated the Magic's spirits.
"When you're not scoring points and guys are hitting 3s, it just kind of saps the energy out of your effort on the defensive end of the court," Afflalo said. "It's a hard thing to maintain."
The Magic (6-13) don't match up well against the Knicks (5-13).
Orlando now has lost seven consecutive games to New York, a streak that started on March 28, 2012.
Anthony usually inflicts most of the damage.
On Friday, however, his Knicks teammates began the onslaught without him.
The Magic held a 31-28 lead at the end of the first quarter and began the second quarter with a lineup of Ronnie Price, E'Twaun Moore, Maurice Harkless, Jason Maxiell and Solomon Jones.
Anthony wasn't on the floor, but New York still began the period with a 15-4 run.
The Knicks consistently generated wide-open looks from beyond the arc, and the Magic often didn't arrive at the shooters quickly enough to contest the long-range shots effectively. The Knicks made six of their first seven 3-point tries in the quarter.
"The attention to detail has to be a lot more sharp than it has been in terms of personnel and us knowing situations," Nelson said.
The Magic played without center Nik Vucevic, who missed his second straight game because of a sprained left ankle. Vucevic took some shots before gametime, but he felt some pain in his ankle and was ruled out.
"We've just got to continue to get guys healthy and continue to build our chemistry," Oladipo said. "It just seems like we never have our whole team."
Glen Davis, playing his first game at the Garden since he fractured his left foot in the arena on Jan. 30, finished with four points and nine rebounds.
"There was a point in time where we made mental mistakes on the other side of the ball defensively and we just couldn't get back in the game," Davis said.
As Orlando's defense struggled, its offense encountered increasing trouble.
All of the Knicks' made baskets allowed the Knicks to set their defense, and, making matters worse, New York switched defenders whenever Orlando ran pick-and-rolls.
The Magic didn't adjust.
And when the Magic kept missing shots, it prevented them from setting their defense and allowed the Knicks to sprint ahead in transition.
With Orlando trailing 74-63, Anthony blocked a shot by Davis. The Knicks pushed the ball upcourt, and Felton found J.R. Smith on the left wing. Smith sank a 3-pointer.
The sellout crowd inside the Garden roared.
The Knicks had done the impossible. They made their troubles fade away.
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