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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, December 23rd (All times Eastern)

New York Knicks (8-18) at Orlando Magic (8-19), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Knicks hope a trip to the Magic Kingdom will get them on track Monday night when they visit Amway Center to face the Orlando Magic.

The Knicks dropped another Sunday afternoon matinee at Madison Square Garden Sunday, falling to the Memphis Grizzlies, 95-87. The Knicks are now 0-3 on the season in afternoon home games, but they had dropped the previous two by an average of 36 points.

The Knicks got creamed in the paint, losing the scoring margin, 60-28 and getting outrebounded 56-29 -- a margin New York coach Mike Woodson called "embarrassing."

"Especially when you start a big lineup," said Woodson. "Tyson (Chandler), (Andrea) Bargnani, Melo, they have to rebound the ball better and we gotta do it as a unit as well. I thought that was the difference, and the fact we gave so much up at the rim. We couldn't keep them out of the paint."

Carmelo Anthony ended with 30 points and seven boards for the Knicks, who fell to 4-10 at home this season. J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 16 points apiece.

After Monday's tilt, the Knicks return home for two, including a Christmas afternoon contest with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Magic might be a great tonic for the Knicks. New York has won seven straight against Orlando, including three straight as the visitor.

The Magic have lost two straight, both at home, as they are in the middle of a six-game stay. Orlando is just 2-9 in the month of December and both wins were on the road. The Magic have only played three home games in the month and dropped all three.

The most recent setback came Saturday at the hands of the Sacramento Kings. Sacramento gained control of the contest with an 18-4 run in the opening 2:49 of the fourth.

"For us to make the step as a team and get to where we need to be, we're going to have to be stronger mentally," acknowledged forward Tobias Harris. "We have to push it right back at them when they made runs and not let that affect us as a team. It's a growing step for us and going into our next game we have to have that mentality if things aren't going our way."

Arron Afflalo led all scorers with 26 points in his return to the lineup after missing Wednesday's loss to Utah with a stomach ailment. Harris had 21 points, while Jameer Nelson and Victor Oladipo added 13 and 12, respectively, for Orlando, which has lost four straight games at Amway Center.

Glen Davis chipped in 10 points.

The Magic will host Detroit, Atlanta and Golden State after the holiday.

12/23 10:18:43 ET

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