ORLANDO, Fla. — Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points, Tyson Chandler had 12 points and 12 rebounds and the New York Knicks defeated the Orlando Magic 96-80 on Thursday night.
J.R. Smith and Toney Douglas each added 15 points for the Knicks, who won for just the third time in their past 13 visits to Orlando. New York also hit 13 3-pointers.
Jason Richardson scored 16 points and Glen Davis 15 to lead Orlando.
The Magic’s loss came on the heels of coach Stan Van Gundy’s comments earlier in the day that included him saying he’d heard from top team officials that Dwight Howard has asked that he be fired.
Howard was held to just eight points and eight rebounds.
Orlando has now lost five consecutive games for the first time since 2007.
Van Gundy made his instantly viral comments hours before tip-off Thursday. They flew in direct conflict with previous denials by Howard throughout the season that he’d made any kind of request about his coach to Magic management.
Howard continued to deny it Thursday.
After giving the Magic a 22-point beating seven days prior, New York again was the aggressor and took a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Playing again without injured Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks shot 48 percent (38 for 78) for the game.
PISTONS 99, WIZARDS 94
In Auburn Hills, Mich., Greg Monroe had 18 points and seven rebounds, Rodney Stuckey scored 15 points in his return from injury, and Ben Wallace made five key free throws down the stretch as Detroit beat Washington.
Even with Monroe playing well, Pistons coach Lawrence Frank went with the 37-year-old Wallace down the stretch to help stop John Wall’s penetration. Wall finished with 28 points and 10 assists.
while Kevin Seraphin had 15 points before fouling out.
Detroit could have put the game away in the first half, but missed 11 of 24 free throws to let Washington stay close, 51-40. Monroe took advantage of the Wizards’ issues inside to put up 13 points and six rebounds in the half, but Wall outscored Brandon Knight 11-0 in the matchup of former Kentucky point guards.
The Wizards tried to rally in the third quarter, but missed several layups. Stuckey, returning from a hamstring injury, scored seven points late in the period to give Detroit a 76-64 lead going into the fourth.
The Pistons led by 20 in the fourth, but three Washington 3-pointers made it 87-77 with 6:50 to play. It was 94-86 with 2:18 left when the Wizards went to the Hack-a-Ben strategy, intentionally fouling Wallace three times in 16 seconds.
Wallace, a 26 percent free-throw shooter this season, hit five of the six shots to foil the plan.