A few observations from the first half of Knicks-Magic:
Whatever Mike Woodson said to J.R. Smith on Wednesday seems to have worked.
Reporters saw Woodson chatting alone with Smith on Wednesday after practice. A night earlier, Smith picked up a flagrant 1 when he lost his cool and threw Leandro Barbosa to the floor. He was ejected for the infraction.
According to reports, Woodson told Smith that he has to "be more professional" in the way he handles things.
Well, he's handling his role as a reserve shooting guard pretty well on Thursday night.
After missing his first three shots, Smith hit his next five to spark a 14-3 Knicks run in the second quarter. Smith had 13 points in the half. Smith knocked down any shot -- contested or not -- over a seven-minute stretch in the second quarter. Smith has a season-high five assists in the half.
MELO FELLOW: The Knicks started out extremely slow. They weren't moving the ball well and were lax on defense. But, in addition to Smith, Carmelo Anthony (17 points) helped lift them out of it. He missed his first three shots but hit five of his next six. The ball movement was poor for most of the first quarter but picked up in the second quarter, when the Knicks bench came in. The bench accounted for 21 points. Iman Shumpert had a thunderous put-back dunk to close out the first quarter.
POOR DEFENSE: Woodson was fuming on the sideline several times in the first half due to porous defensive play from his Knicks. New York allowed Orlando to his six of its 15 attempts (40 percent) from beyond the arc, was burned on a backdoor cut three times and allowed a few more open layup opportunities. Glen "Big Baby" Davis had 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting and J.R. Richardson had 14.
BAD NIGHT FOR DWIGHT: Dwight Howard's sure playing like he wants Stan Van Gundy fired. He is scoreless in the first half with four rebounds, two fouls and three turnovers.
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