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Knicks Fall Under Magic's Spell

Chuck Daly turned to his kiddie corps Thursday night, and the rookies responded well.

Michael Doleac and Matt Harpring carried the Magic down the stretch, making up for the absence of two starters as Orlando extended its winning streak to four games by beating the Knicks 86-78.

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  • Doleac scored 12 of his 16 points in the final quarter as coach Chuck Daly stuck with him instead of Ike Austin, and Harpring went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final 3½ minutes.

    "It was one of those situations where Doleac was playing so well that we rode him out," Daly said. "We got a tremendous game out of Michael. We keep finding things out about him."

    The Magic held the Knicks to two field goals over the first 11 minutes of the final quarter to end New York's winning streak at three games and hand the Knicks just their third home loss of the season.

    Second-place Orlando extended its Atlantic Division lead over New York to 3½ games.

    "It was a tremendous win for us," Daly said.

    Penny Hardaway scored 19 points and Darrell Armstrong had 18 points, 10 assists and five rebounds for Orlando, which was without Nick Anderson for most of the game and Bo Outlaw for all of it.

    Anderson sat out the second half with a stomach virus after plying 12 minutes in the first half and missing all four of his shots, and Outlaw sat out with a bruised calf.

    In their place, the kids were all right.

    Doleac had a dunk, two free throws and a jumper to account for all the points in a 6-0 run that turned a 68-64 deficit into a 70-68 lead.

    After Kurt Thomas tied the game on a layup, Armstrong hit a floater, Harpring hit two foul shots, Hardaway made one of two from the line and Doleac drove the baseline for a layup that made it 77-70 with 1:20 left.

    "I'm not a very flashy player," said Doleac, a 6-foot-11 center from Utah. "If I'm wide open, I can shoot the ball. People don't expect me to do anything. They don't worry about playing me."

    Allan Houston had 18 points and Thomas 17 for New York, which led for most of the game but shot horribly (5-for-21) in the final quarter. At one point late in the fourth, Latrell Sprewell (0-for-8), Houston (0-for-5) and Larry Johnson (0-for-4) had combined to miss their last 17 shots.

    "We didn't get into any kind of a rhythm, we had nothing flowing offensively," Sprewell said. "We were searching for someone who could get the momentum going our way, and we weren't able to do that."

    The Knicks led for much of the first half and all of the third quarter, but missed a chance to give themselves some breathing room midway through the third when they allowed Orlando to use an 11-2 run to pull to 61-60.

    New York stayed ahead until Doleac tied it on two foul shots with 6:24 left as part of a game-ending 24-10 run.

    "I felt I was playing well, and I felt comfortable. I think coach saw that," Doleac said.

    Notes

    • Orlando improved to 12-3 in games decided by 10 points or less.
    • The Knicks were trying for their third four-game winning streak of the season. They don't play again until Saturday, when they begin their third and final stretch of three games in three nights. Chris Dudley went 4-for-4 from the line for New York, extending his string of made free throws to nine.
    • Doleac also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

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