CWhen any player scores 30 points in an NBA basketball game, it’s a noteworthy effort deserving of being highlighted on the stat sheets and mentioned in media outlets.  Tonight, the Knicks nearly had three such performances.

When the trade was completed to send Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups from Denver to the Big Apple, there was no question that the Knicks were going to increase their ability to score points, but the questions surrounded who was going to play defense.  Those questions played a large role in the outcome of tonight’s contest as the Knicks traveled on the road to challenge the Eastern Conference powerhouse  Orlando Magic.

Amare Stoudamire and Chauncey Billups both hit the 30 point mark against Orlando, with Carmelo Anthony falls a couple baskets short of joining them, netting 25.  Just days after defeating the Miami Heat, the Knicks fall just short of beating the other powerhouse team from Florida, the Magic winning this game 116 to 110.

Dwight Howard had a 30 point effort of his own tonight, with Jameer Nelson reaching 26 points to combine for nearly half of their team’s total output.

Having lost to the Magic now twice this season, falling on December 30th in Orlando, the Knicks get two more opportunities in the regular season to tie up the series.  Both of those contests will be played in Madison Square Garden, one on March 23rd and the other 5 days later.  As Anthony, Stoudamire and Billups continue to perfect their roles in the Knicks offense (and defense), this team could look quite different two weeks from now, and into the playoffs.

Next up for the Knicks is a home game against the Hornets in New York on Wednesday.