The Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard (12) fouls Baron Davis (85)...

The Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard (12) fouls Baron Davis (85) during the first half. (March 28, 2012) Credit: AP

The pain was right there for everyone to see.

You could see it in Baron Davis' face during a timeout last night when Knicks trainer Roger Hinds held a heating pad to his right leg and tried to stretch his right hamstring. And you could feel it in almost every step Davis took in the Knicks' 108-86 win over the Orlando Magic.

Davis was way short of 100 percent. But with starting point guard Jeremy Lin sitting out his second straight game with a sore knee, Knicks coach Mike Woodson thought he was the team's most viable option. And so Davis, who has played in only 17 games this season because of back and hamstring injuries, gutted it out through 25 painful minutes in his second straight start.

Davis, who finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two turnovers, said before the game that it was going to be a tough one for him.

"I'm feeling a little banged up, but I've got to put it aside and give my all," Davis said at the team's morning shootaround. "When you're out there you can't think about it. You've got to just play."

Of course, the way Carmelo Anthony was playing, Woody Allen might have been able to run the point for the Knicks last night.

"We come to the gym with a resolve that we we got to hang our hat on our defense, we got to get out and we got to fast break and we got to make open shots," Davis said. "We're capable. We have a lot of talent on this team. We just want to continue to integrate everybody and everybody in a good rhythm so we're all clicking on the same page. There's a lot of things we can do better. We're going to continue to work on it."

Woodson evidently didn't feel too comfortable with his other options -- Mike Bibby and Toney Douglas -- as Davis played 21 of the first 31 minutes. In fact, Woodson waited until the Knicks had a 31-point lead -- 80-49 with 4:54 left in the third quarter -- to let Davis sit for an extended rest. Bibby played 18 minutes in relief of Davis, missed his only shot attempt and had one assist and no turnovers. Douglas, who was the Knicks' starting point guard at the start of the season, played the final five minutes of the game. He also was scoreless, missing his only shot, and had one assist.

Even after Lin returns, Woodson may have to squeeze as much as he can out of Davis. Because Lin has said his knee issues came from "overuse," Woodson said before the game he probably will limit his minutes. "I got a bunch of guys I've got to watch minutes," Woodson said. "But we have enough players to do that, I think, where we don't have to burn guys and play 30, 35 or 40 minutes."

Davis' performance was a marked improvement over the nine-turnover effort he had on Monday night against the Bucks.


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