Knicks 'zzone

Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.

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Knicks open trip against a faceless Magic team

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony takes a shot

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony takes a shot over Orlando Magic's Glen Davis during the first half. (April 5, 2012) (Credit: AP)

The Knicks open their three-game road trip tonight in Orlando and will start the same way against one of the more non-descript teams in the league.

The Knicks have a great shot of winning their fifth straight game to open the season. If they don’t they will be kicking themselves because Dwight Howard really left the Magic high and dry.

Orlando’s projected starters for tonight’s game are E’Twaun Moore, J.J. Redick, Nikola Vucevic, Glen Davis and Aaron Afflalo. Orlando’s top players off the bench have been Josh McRoberts, Andrew Nicholson, and Gustavo Ayon.

The Magic have Al Harrington and Hedo Turkoglu, but they're inactive, and Jameer Nelson is questionable with a hamstring/groin injury.

First-time head coach Jacque Vaughn said he will make the call on whether Nelson plays tonight.

Vaughn is a very positive and professional person so there is no doubt he’s remaining that way with this team. He’s trying to put in a system that’s predicated on defense and sharing the ball.

Vaughn has a good pedigree, coming from the San Antonio Spurs, who the Knicks face next on this trip.

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The Magic were praising the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony for their play to start the season.

Afflalo, who played with Anthony in Denver, said his former teammate “is all about winning at this point.”

When Vaughn was asked what does he tell Afflalo about guarding Anthony, he turned to the Cub Scouts motto:

“Do your best,” Vaughn said.

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Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert are rehabbing from knee surgeries and are on the trip. But only Shumpert spoke to the media. He said he’s doing more power work and conditioning and is targeting January for his return
 

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