NEW YORK — It doesn't add up.
The Orlando Magic own the fifth-best record in the NBA, and yet on too many nights this season, they have played terribly.
They played without any passion Wednesday night and they paid an all-too-familiar price. The New York Knicks administered a 108-86 drubbing in which the Magic trailed by as many as 39 points and looked inept on offense.
"What's shocking to me is that a team that's playing over .600 basketball can get absolutely rocked as many times as we have been," coach Stan Van Gundy said.
"Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, tonight — that's what's mind-boggling to me. It'll happen every once in a while if you're a bad team. To be a .600 team and get crushed like that as many times as we have? That's shocking."
On Wednesday, nothing worked from the middle of the second quarter onward. The Knicks, who were playing without injured starting point guard Jeremy Lin and injured starting power forward Amar'e Stoudemire, went on a 12-0 run before halftime and on a 21-0 run during the third quarter.
"It's coming down to be crunchtime, and we shouldn't have to talk about effort," point guard Jameer Nelson said. "That's absurd to me to have to come in the locker room and talk about effort."
The rebounding numbers told the larger story. Even though they employed a smaller lineup, the Knicks still collected 16 offensive rebounds and outrebounded the Magic 49-34 overall.
"As a whole, we didn't compete hard enough," shooting guardJ.J. Redicksaid. "Same old story with us."
The Magic, despite their 32-19 record, have an ugly knack of losing in humiliating fashion and then faulting themselves for their lackluster effort.
On Jan. 23, they fell 87-56 to the Boston Celtics and produced an all-time franchise-low point total. On Jan. 27, they lost 93-67 to the lowly New Orleans Hornets. On March 19, they were beaten 85-59 by the Chicago Bulls.
Add another awful performance to their résumé.
"It should be frustrating for everybody," Dwight Howard said. "We just have to step up and play the right way, and when we don't, we have games like this."
The Magic allowed their ball movement to slow to a crawl. They committed 19 turnovers, including six during the Knicks' decisive third-quarter run. And they could not guard.
Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Quentin Richardson and Earl Clark took turns guarding Carmelo Anthony, and none of them did well. Anthony finished with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting and carved up the defense with six assists.
"It didn't hurt him tonight that he had his jump shot going," said Mike Woodson, the Knicks' interim coach.
Even Howard had an off-night.
He finished with 12 points and just five rebounds, and the Knicks outscored the Magic by 31 points when Howard was on the floor.
But aside from Nelson, who scored 17 points, no one played well when the outcome was still in doubt.
Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Ryan Anderson combined to score 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
The loss ended the Magic's winning streak at three games.
With their win, the Knicks improved to 26-25 overall and 8-1 under Woodson.
"This season has been a rocky season for us," Anthony said.
The Magic have experienced a roller-coaster ride, too.
And, now, they've fallen into another valley.
"We got behind, they hit a lot of shots, they got us down," Van Gundy said. "And then we just sort of died. We didn't do anything we had talked about doing. We played with no energy. We were very individual at the offensive end. And not much effort."
In the end, it just didn't add up.
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