Tonight it is the New York Knicks in the Amway for the Orlando Magic, as they return home after a tough West Coast road trip.
To watch the game live or on demand here in the UK you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription. Never miss a game again and watch the entire 2020/21 season by subscribing here.
The tip time is shown on the NBA app and Orlando Magic website as being a 12:00 midnight here in the UK (7pm Eastern for our friends in Orlando).
THE MATCHUP FOR THE KNICKS IN THE AMWAY
The Knicks last played on Monday night, getting a home court win over the Atlanta Hawks by 112-123. Julius Randle carried the offence as he scored 44 points. Randle also led the Knicks with 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Three other Knicks players made double figure scoring, being Elfriid Payton, RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley. This win saw the Knicks sitting at 6th in the Eastern Conference.
Orlando’s last game saw the Magic lose by 90-109 to the Phoenix Suns. An undermanned Magic team had effort but could find no way to counter the Phoenix offence or effectively breach one of the NBA’s best defences.
The Knicks have won 7 of 16 games on the road this season. Orlando have won 5 of 13 games in the Amway. Season records see Orlando at 10-18, whilst New York are 14-15. Across the last 10 games that each team has played the Knicks have a 6-4 record, whilst Orlando are 2-8. The Magic are back on a losing streak, whilst New York are on a 3 game winning run.
Since Markelle Fultz got injured Orlando have played twenty games and have only four victories. That run of results sees Orlando 12th in the Eastern Conference.
OUR OPPONENTS – THE NEW YORK KNICKS
New York come into the game as the NBA’s 24th ranked offensive team, scoring an average of 104 points per game. The Knicks are ranked defensively at 3rd, conceding 108.3 points per game.
Offensively they play at a slow pace, scoring less fast-break points per game than Orlando do, only getting an average of 7.1 points. They shoot 45.3% from the field and a shade over 36% from the 3. Over 55% of the Knicks points come in the paint and 28.8% from beyond the arc. That leaves 15.8% coming from the free throw line.
Defensively they get 4.9 blocks per game but have one of the leagues lowest rates for stealing the ball from opponents. They concede 48.7% of points from inside the paint, 17% from the free throw line and 34.3% from beyond the arc. The Knicks take care of the ball and turn it over at a low rate, almost identical to that of Orlando per game. They commit on average of almost 21 fouls per game, hence the high level of points conceded at the charity stripe..
THE NEW YORK KNICKS SQUAD
Tonight the Knicks in the Amway will have plenty of options against a still depleted Orlando squad.
Last game Coach Tom Thibodeau started Julius Randle (23.1 PPG), RJ Barrett (16.5 PPG), Reggie Bullock (8.7 PPG), Elfrid Payton (12.2 PPG) and Nerlens Noel (3.2 PPG).
From the bench came Derrick Rose (13.9 PPG), Immanuel Quickley (12.5 PPG), Alec Burks (11.2 PPG), Taj Gibson (3.1 PPG) and Obi Toppin (5 PPG). Also available are Austin Rivers (7.3 PPG), Kevin Knox (7.8 PPG), and Frank Ntilikina (4.5 PPG).
According to ESPN the Knicks now have Mitchell Robinson (8.6 PPG) out after he injured his right hand in their last game, which required surgery.
THE HEAD-TO-HEAD: NEW YORK KNICKS
For the Knicks in the Amway the results in recent games have not been favourable, Orlando taking their last 3 home court fixtures.
The teams have already met once this season in a scrappy game. The Magic lost on a poor night of shooting in the Madison Square Garden, New York . The game on January 18th was then a sixth straight loss for the Magic. The Knicks won 84-91.
Orlando played the Knicks twice last season splitting the series 1-1. In the Amway on October 30th 2019, Orlando won by 85-93. Then on February 6th the Knicks took a surprise win 103-105 in the Gardens.
Across the 117 regular season games played the Magic lead 60-57. Since season 2015-16, in the 18 games played Orlando have 11 wins.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
THE MAGIC INJURY AND ABSENCE REPORT
The injury report is very favourable if we are looking towards good lottery odds. It is not so good if you wish to see the team winning. As I write this the squad of 17 is now standing at 9 fit players and one absent. An NBA game requires a minimum of 8 fit players for a game to go ahead.
According to ESPN:
Karim Mane (1.2 PPG) is absent to be with the Lakeland Magic. The NBA G-League season began on February 10th in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World.
Al-Farouq Aminu (0 PPG) is questionable for tonight. He has been involved in practices.
Cole Anthony (11 PPG) is now out until after All Star after it was revealed he has a non-displaced rib fracture. Previously it had been reported as being out with a right shoulder strain suffered against Portland. It is unclear if this was a misdiagnosis, an additional injury or not publicised by Orlando previously.
Evan Fournier (17.8 PPG) is questionable with back spasms. He has been involved in practice
James Ennis III (7.3 PPG) is questionable for tonight with a right groin strain. He was forced to leave the game in Sacramento but has been involved in practice.
Markelle Fultz (12.9 PPG) has a torn left knee ACL, a season finishing injury. He is now in the lengthy process of rehab following successful surgery.
Jonathan Isaac is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.
Aaron Gordon (13.8 PPG) will miss 4 to 6 weeks with a severe left ankle sprain.
Frank Mason III (6.3 PPG) has now been waived by the team in the signing of Chasson Randle.
THE MAGIC LINE-UP FACING THE KNICKS IN THE AMWAY
As written before Coach Clifford will be heavily consulting his medical staff ahead of the game.
The starting unit against Phoenix consisted of Michael Carter-Williams (7.9 PPG), Dwayne Bacon (10.6 PPG), Terrence Ross (14.8 PPG), Gary Clark (3.2 PPG) and Nikola Vucevic (23.7 PPG).
From the bench again came Khem Birch (6.9 PPG), Chuma Okeke (4.4 PPG) and Mo Bamba (4.9 PPG).
Orlando will likely see newly acquired Chasson Randle handle the back-up point guard role.
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
EASTERN CONFERENCE STANDING – 12th
SEASON RECORD – 10-18
HOME RECORD – 5-8
ROAD RECORD – 5-10
RECORD LEADING AFTER THE FIRST QUARTER – 4-2
WHEN LEADING AT HALF TIME – 9-2
AND WHEN LEADING GOING INTO THE FOURTH QUARTER – 7-1
NBA OFFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 28TH OF 30 (105.7)
NBA DEFENSIVE RANK AND RATING – 20TH OF 30 (112.7)
POINTS PER GAME – 28TH OF 30 (104.9)
OPPONENTS POINTS PER GAME – 14TH OF 30 (111.8)
RECORD WHEN SCORING LESS THAN 100 POINTS – 1-11
WHEN SCORING MORE THAN 100 POINTS – 9-7
WHEN SCORING 110 POINTS OR MORE – 7-2
AND WHEN SCORING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 4-0
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 100 POINTS OR LESS – 3-1
WHEN CONCEDING 110 POINTS OR LESS – 6-4
AND WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR LESS – 10-11
RECORD WHEN CONCEDING 120 POINTS OR MORE – 1-7
LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 20 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
LARGEST MARGIN OF DEFEAT – 42 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
HIGHEST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 130 – GAME DAY 2 VS WASHINGTON WIZARDS
LEAST POINTS SCORED THIS SEASON – 84 – GAME DAY 14 NEW YORK KNICKS
MOST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 132 – GAME DAY 9 HOUSTON ROCKETS
LEAST POINTS CONCEDED THIS SEASON – 83 – GAME DAY 7 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Check out our podcast Penny For Your Thoughts.
In the latest episode we’re joined by Kyle, Magic fan and YouTuber from the channel ‘View From The Cheap Seats’. We discuss how he got into vlogging, became a Magic fan and what it was like being in Tampa to see the Buccaneers win the Superbowl.
All episodes of the podcast are available on the following platforms:
Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/penny-for-your-thoughts/id1539159864
Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8zMjJhNGJiYy9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==
Pocket Casts: https://pca.st/yj2cmpgs
Please subscribe and set your notifications for alerts when new episodes are released.
Keep an eye out each game day across our social media platforms on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for our match day game Magic MOments where we ask you to predict the outcome of 5 questions we pose. All you have to do is comment.
KEYS TO THE GAME – THE KNICKS IN THE AMWAY
Orlando’s depleted squad again means there is little Coach Clifford can do to truly affect the game. The players can give no more effort than they have given in the last three games. Any returning player would have a huge impact on the rotations available.
The Knicks held Orlando to their fewest points of the season so far on Game Day 14. That was around the time that New York began to find their feet and have been improving ever since in the standings.
Orlando face an offensive threat from the Knicks in the Amway, particularly in the form of Julius Randle. Randle leads the league in minutes played and is in the top 10 leading scorers. He is in the top 20 for most scoring stats at this time, excluding anything to do with 3 point shooting. The Magic have to try to find a way to slow him and this requires defending the paint well. Khem Birch, Mo Bamba and Nikola Vucevic will need to command the boards.
Dependant upon the Orlando returning players it would not be a surprise to see New York focus defensively on both Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross as opponents of late have.
Since the Fultz injury of the 20 games played on 10 occasions Orlando have failed to make 100 points. A further 5 were less than the 110 mark.
Orlando have an opportunity to score with the amount of fouls the Knicks commit. This could allow Orlando to find much needed points against a team who do not allow a lot of scores.