WHAT IT MEANS: Carmelo Anthony played hurt on Monday, but his shooting ended up hurting the Knicks.
Anthony, playing on a sprained right ankle that caused him to miss a game and a half, missed 18 of his 27 shots. He finished with 33 points thanks to 14 made free throws, but his shooting from beyond the arc (1-for-8) and in the fourth quarter (2-for-6) hurt the Knicks' efforts to take control down the stretch. The Knicks have now lost three straight.
THE GOOD: Not much. Tyson Chandler and, at times, Jared Jeffries did a commendable job guarding Dwight Howard. The Magic center had just eight points and 10 rebounds. Forwards Ryan Anderson (30 points) and Hedo Turkoglu (15) hurt the Knicks. The duo combined for 16 fourth-quarter points.
THE SO-SO: Amare Stoudemire's fourth quarter. Stoudemire had been struggling on the offensive end of late. Those struggles continued for three quarters on Monday, but it wasn't because he couldn't find his shot. Stoudemire was in foul trouble for much of the afternoon. He had three in the first half and picked up his fourth in the first minute of the third quarter. But he came alive in the fourth, hitting his first three shots, including a blow by dunk on Glen Davis to break an 83-83 tie with just under eight minutes to play.
THE BAD: The Knicks' perimeter defense. Mike D'Antoni didn't want to double-team Howard much on Monday because he knew it would free up Orlando's shooters. It didn't matter. Even without the double-teams, Orlando finished with 17 made threes and shot 48 percent from beyond the arc. J.J. Redick hit three of his six attempts and finished with 21 points.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks will host a reunion of sorts when they welcome Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. D'Antoni coached in Phoenix for five seasons before coming to New York in 2008. Stoudemire played his first eight seasons with the Suns before signing with the Knicks as a free agent in the summer of 2010.
Milwaukee comes to town on Friday. Reunion week then continues on Saturday when the Denver Nuggets invade the Garden. It will be the Knicks' first matchup with Denver since the Anthony trade. Ex-Knicks Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov should receive a warm welcome from the home crowd.
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