The Orlando Magic rallied from a 14-point deficit against the New York Knicks on Friday to pick up a 129-121 victory in double-overtime. Victor Oladipo led the comeback, helping Orlando surmount a seven-point deficit to start the fourth quarter.
Oladipo finished with 30 points, nine rebounds, a career-best 14 assists, and two steals on 11-of-23 shooting.
Carmelo Anthony. led all scorers with 44 points in 50 minutes, shooting 16-of-28 from the floor in a breathtakingly smooth and efficient display. He also tallied 11 rebounds.
Arron Afflalo did his level best to match his former Denver Nuggets teammate, and he played a great game in his own right by finishing with 32 points on 11-of-18 shooting before leaving the game in the second overtime due to injury. Tobias Harris added 22 of his own starting at power forward in the spot Glen Davis vacated when he took a buyout earlier Friday.
Afflalo got the Magic off a hot start, shooting 5-of-5 in the first quarter for 14 points as Orlando took a 31-30 lead over the visitors. Even with Jameer Nelson missing all three of his shots, Orlando managed to shoot 52.2 percent in the period, and it held a 13-8 edge on the boards.
But the Knicks' proficiency from three-point range kept them in the game, with Anthony hitting three of their five first-quarter triples. After a video review, the referees overturned a fourth trey of Anthony's, ruling it a long two-pointer.
New York went on a 19-6 run to close the first half to take a 60-53 lead into halftime, continuing a season-long trend of lighting up the Magic: as Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida notes, New York scored 59 and 65 in the first halves of its two previous games against the Magic.
Orlando continued to fall behind in the second half as Anthony kept up his torrid scoring: he made his final six shots of the first half and his first three of the second. His free throw after a Jacque Vaughn technical gave him 18 points in the game and put New York up by 12. Raymond Felton added to that lead on New York's next possession when he accidentally banked in a lob intended for Tyson Chandler. Such was New York's fortune on Friday.
New York ranks as one of the league's worst defensive teams, so the Magic's lack of success attacking the Knicks with dribble penetration comes as a surprise. The Magic's starting backcourt of Nelson and Oladipo struggled to convert throughout the game despite little resistance from the likes of Felton and Pablo Prigioni.
The Magic opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back baskets at the rim, the second of which a powerful Oladipo slam off a sloppy Prigioni pass. The Magic drew to within three points after that play.
Oladipo led the Magic back in the fourth, as is his wont: he later nailed a straight-on trey to cut New York's lead to four points, assisted on a Maurice Harkless three to cut it to five, and then turned a steal into a breakaway dunk to make the game a three-point affair.
Seeming to feed off Oladipo's energy, the Magic's second unit continued to produce, even against New York's starters: E'Twaun Moore tied the score with a triple and then Oladipo set a career-best with his 12th assist to feed Harkless for a layup in traffic. That score gave Orlando a two-point edge with 5:28 to go.
Felton and Tim Hardaway Jr. hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions to give New York a three-point lead with 2:49 to go, but Orlando answered with a Nikola Vucevic tip-in and an Afflalo fadeaway.
Anthony stepped out of bounds on the sideline on New York's ensuing possession, giving Orlando the ball with the score knotted at 106 and 22.2 seconds remaining.
Out of a timeout, Vucevic tried to take Chandler off the dribble going to Vucevic's left, but his lefty running hook fell off the mark at the buzzer, ensuring overtime.
The teams traded buckets throughout the overtime period, with neither team leading by more than two points. Vucevic nearly won the game for Orlando just before the horn, but he short-rimmed a layup try off an Oladipo feed. The game proceeded to a second overtime, marking the first time in Orlando history that the Magic have had three multiple-overtime games in one season.
The Magic became the first team to take a two-possession lead in either overtime period off an Oladipo layuup with 2:23 to go in the second overtime, which basket gave them a 117-113 edge. Afflalo injured himself on the play and limped--reluctantly, judging by his facial expression--to Orlando's locker room.
Oladipo drove to his left past Hardaway and banked in a layup off the glass while absorbing contact to give Orlando a 119-115 edge. He converted the free throw to boost the lead to five points, Orlando's largest advantage since the 5:54 mark of the second quarter.
Anthony drilled three-pointers on the Knicks' next two possessions, but the Magic answered each. Oladipo's emphatic, two-handed, double-pump slam off a baseline cut gave him his second and-one play of the overtime and put Orlando up by four points, offering some much-needed breathing room after Anthony's trey had cut the Magic's lead to one.
Felton's three-pointer on New York's next trip rattled around and out. Harris secured the board for Orlando and forced the Knicks to go into foul mode.