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The Magic's younger players were right in the middle of the action, with rookies Maurice Harkless and Andrew Nicholson knocking down several big shots and making key defensive plays in the third quarter as the Knicks inched back in front and took a one-point lead into the final period.
The Knicks traded the lead with the Magic at the start of the fourth, with Orlando continually able to slip inside the paint.
But along with Anthony's big night, the Knicks were also able to sustain the Magic's efforts as Smith continued his hot streak from the 3-point line, connecting on both of his attempts. He is 13 of 18 overall for the season from behind the arc.
Even with the loss, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said there still some positives for a team that piecing together lineups at the moment.
"We can't afford to make mistakes, but for me at the end of this game I was pretty proud of our guys and their effort tonight," Vaughn said. "That's a good ball club on both ends of the floor and we made them earn a win tonight."
Trailing 35-25 midway through the second quarter, the Magic used a 16-4 run to move ahead 41-39. Orlando carried that momentum into as 53-49 halftime lead.
In his fourth game of the season since returning to action from offseason sports hernia surgery, Harkless provided a lift off the bench with 10 points in the half.
It helped offset another big scoring half by Anthony, who topped the Knicks with 16 first-half points.
The Magic also outrebounded the Knicks 25-16 in the opening 24 minutes, while getting 34 points in the paint against a larger Knicks front court.
Orlando maintained its edge on the boards but didn't get nearly as many second-chance opportunities in the second half.
Smith said the Knicks are enjoying where they're at right now.
"It's great. It's a great feeling," he said. "We want to keep it going. So we can't get too lackadaisical like we did in that first half."
NOTES: Nelson missed his sixth straight game with a strained right hamstring and groin. ...The game was stopped for about 10 minutes between the first and second quarter after Jamie Woode, a former college cheerleader and Magic Stunt Team member, fell during a routine and was wheeled off the floor on a stretcher. She was transferred to a nearby hospital where she was breathing on her own and moving her extremities, according to paramedics who attended to her.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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