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Carmelo Anthony scores 44 but Knicks squander 14-point lead, lose in 2 OTs

Knicks' Carmelo Anthony looks for a shot as

Knicks' Carmelo Anthony looks for a shot as Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic Arron Afflalo and Tobias Harris defend during overtime in Orlando, Fla., Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. Credit: AP / Willie J. Allen, Jr.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Knicks had what seemed to be a comfortable lead on a night when Carmelo Anthony was lighting it up offensively, but they couldn't close out the game -- again.

Two plays in their 129-121 double-overtime loss to the Magic on Friday night summed up their season perfectly.

With the score tied late in regulation, Anthony brought the ball up and stepped on the sideline with 22.2 seconds left.

With the score tied at 113 in the first overtime, Raymond Felton threw a lob to Tyson Chandler for an apparent dunk, but he hung on the rim, the ball hit his head and bounced out, and he was called for offensive interference with 1:07 to go.

"It's just another game that I feel like we gave away," Anthony said after scoring 44 points.

It was one of the worst losses of the season for the Knicks (21-34), who weren't able to hold a 14-point third-quarter lead against a rebuilding Magic team. They also weren't able to slow down rookie guard Victor Oladipo with the game on the line.

Oladipo had 30 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds. He scored eight points in the second overtime, including two big three-point plays, to lead Orlando (17-40).

"We didn't have any kind of defensive presence," Mike Woodson said. "We played probably six minutes of defense in this whole entire game."

So Anthony's 50-minute effort, which included 11 rebounds and four assists, was wasted. The Knicks are 4 1/2 games out of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They play in Atlanta Saturday night to close out this four-game trip, and after this game, Anthony might not have much left.

Felton and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 15 points and Chandler added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

"Every loss is tough," Chandler said. "This time of year, every loss is like five. You can't have them, especially having a lead, controlling the entire game, and obviously a game that we should win."

Arron Afflalo had 32 points for Orlando. Former Half Hollow Hills West and Long Island Lutheran standout Tobias Harris had 22 points and eight rebounds.

The Knicks were fortunate that they had a chance in the second overtime because Magic center Nikola Vucevic missed a shot at the rim just before the buzzer in the first extra period.

In the second overtime, the Knicks didn't score until Anthony's two foul shots with 2:08 left cut the Magic's lead to 117-115. It stayed that way until Oladipo drove past Hardaway, was fouled and hit a bank shot in the lane. His foul shot put the Knicks in a 120-115 hole with 1:28 left.

Anthony drilled a three-pointer on the next possession, and after Kyle O'Quinn's foul-line jumper, Anthony hit another three to cut Orlando's lead to 122-121 with 43.9 seconds left.

Then Oladipo crushed the Knicks again. He went baseline, threw down a dunk, was fouled and hit the free throw to make it 125-121 with 30.7 seconds to go.

"That kind of really sealed it for them," Anthony said.

Felton missed a three-pointer and the Knicks fouled Harris, whose two free throws made it 127-121 with 20.1 seconds left.

"Like I said," Anthony said, "this is a game I felt like we should be walking away with a win."

New York Sports