With just one win away from a .500 record, the Knicks couldn’t get the job done at Amway Center. They snapped their three-game winning streak in a 107-89 loss to the Orlando Magic. Their 89 points are their third-lowest this season and their first time under 100 points since their last loss against the Heat on February 9th. Julius Randle led the scoring yet again by scoring 25 points while Terrence Ross went off by scoring 30 points.
Strong Start for the Knicks…
Randle buoyed a strong first quarter by the Knicks. He scored 13 points–almost half of all the Knicks’ points that quarter (they finished it with 32). Of those 13 points, nine came from behind the arch as Randle shot 3-3. The game was a little contested at first, but around the halfway mark the Knicks were able to open the game up. At one point, they were up by 11 points–their greatest lead of the night. The quarter finished with the Knicks up 32-23.
…But then the Knicks Start Losing Control
The Knicks couldn’t stay as hot, letting the Magic outscore them 30-24 to finish the half up by three: 56-53. Randle was only able to score four points this quarter–none of which came from the three-ball. On the other side of the court, Terrence Ross, who finished the game with 30 points, started to heat up. He finished the quarter with 8 points and went 2-3 from the three-point line.
Magical Third Quarter
If the second quarter was the appetizer for the Magic’s performance tonight, the third quarter was the entrée. The Knicks were outscored 30-14, as none of their bench players were able to score a single point. Only Randle, RJ Barrett, and Elfrid Payton notched points during this time. Of those three, Barrett had the most with six. For the Magic, Ross continued his strong night with seven points while Gary Clark and Nikola Vucevic each contributed six points.
The Magic’s Final Nail in the Coffin
By the start of the fourth quarter, the Magic were up by 13 points and were able to put on cruise control; the Knicks would never regain the lead. After a dreadful third quarter from the bench, coach Tom Thibodeau relied more heavily on them here. Thankfully, they were able to score something, with Alec Burks leading the pack with six and going 2-3 from the three-point line. Yet again, however, Ross shone for the Magic by scoring 11 points and going 2-2. When all was said and done, the game finished 107-89 and that 18-point lead was the Magic’s largest of the night.
Wrap-Up and Looking Ahead
The Knicks suffered in two main areas tonight: three-pointers and bench points. If we compare the stats between the two teams, the struggles become even more apparent. The Magic’s bench outscored the Knicks’ bench 42-26. Ross, who started on the bench for the Magic, certainly helped this out but on the Knicks’ side, Immanuel Quickley led the bench with nine points. For the three-ball, the Magic had a 47.1 3P% compared to a paltry 25.9 3P% for the Knicks.
While the Knicks were originally scheduled for back-to-back games at The Garden this weekend, their Saturday game against the Spurs had to be postponed due to a COVID outbreak within the Spurs’ team. Instead, the Knicks will just play the Timberwolves on Sunday to close out the week. From there, they have a brief west-coast road trip next week that will see them play the Warriors and the Kings.