Last night saw an Orlando win with tenacious D and shooting threes at it’s core. The Magic took down the New York Knicks by 89-107 in the Amway.
The Magic had a starting line-up of Gary Clark, Dwayne Bacon, Nikola Vucevic and Michael Carter-Williams, joined by a returning Evan Fournier. That left Chasson Randle, Al-Farouq Aminu, Terrence Ross, Mo Bamba, Chuma Okeke and Khem Birch to rotate in.
Yes the Magic had 11 available players!!
THE OPENING QUARTER
Evan Fournier got Orlando’s first scores with a three and a two under the basket, outmuscling Elfrid Payton.
A fast scoring opening saw the lead changing hands. However as the quarter moved on Julius Randle was scoring freely ands New York began to build a lead.
Unfortunately Orlando’s shooting had gone cold to close the quarter, seeing the Magic trail 32-23 at the close.
INTO THE SECOND QUARTER
Mo Bamba opened the quarter with a dunk for his second basket of the night. What followed was more good effort from the bench players. An Al-Farouq Aminu three, a Bamba block on a Derrick Rose attempt and a Terrence Ross three.
Immanuel Quickley was causing Orlando some difficulties on defence, drawing fouls and scoring from the line.
Fight was again present from the Magic, seeing Chuma Okeke hit a three as Orlando cut the lead to two points. MCW drove hard at the basket to level the score, then the lead from the resulting free throw. T-Ross was having a game, scoring well and getting a block on an driving Derrick Rose.
The Knicks were getting to the free throw line too often and finding scoring in the paint. Orlando were hitting the long ball, which was allowing for a tight game. At the half the score read 56-53 to New York.
THE THIRD QUARTER
This was the quarter where tenacious D and shooting threes came to the fore.
Dwayne Bacon started the half by hitting two good shots but Julius Randle continued to be an offensive threat. Evan Fournier had not scored since the game opening but finally got the ball to go early in the 3rd.
Again the three ball was good for Orlando as Gary Clark hit a pair to take a lead.
Having 11 fit players was allowing rest in the game and Coach Clifford was using everyone.
Orlando hands were very active getting steals, blocks and breaking up New York offensive plays. Julius Randle’s scoring had been stopped by the strength of the Orlando defence. With less than a minute remaining in the quarter a Ross three gave Orlando a double digit lead for the first time of the night. Ross followed it up with a brilliant drive to see the Magic out score the Knicks 14-30 in the quarter.
As the buzzer sounded the scoreboard read 70-83 to the Magic.
INTO THE FOURTH
The tenacious D and shooting for Orlando continued through the fourth as the Magic bench opened the quarter.
All night defensive rebounding had been an Orlando strength, limiting the Knicks to being one and done regularly. That trend started this quarter.
Neither team were shooting well in the quarter’s opening minutes. For Orlando that changed as Terrence Ross was fouled on a three, hitting all the free throws. He then following up with a long range bucket for 3.
Orlando’s defence was such that the Knicks had missed 15 straight field goal attempts.
As Orlando led by 17 Alec Burks hit two successive three’s, seeing Coach Clifford call a timeout to try and break the rhythm. That timeout saw Ross get another score. T-Ross followed that score by stealing the ball and feeding Fournier for another made three bucket. A steal by Evan Fournier saw him run the length of the court to dunk the ball with a little over 2 minutes remaining for a 17 point lead.
The exclamation point on a performance of strength was stamped into place during the final minute. Firstly, Ross hit a three for his point, then MCW drove into the paint to slam home a basket and finally Khem Birch got another block for the team.
THE FINAL SCORE – 89-107
ON THE NIGHT
Orlando’s season record is now 11-18, remaining 12th in the East.
The defensive effort in the second half was outstanding. The renewed Orlando focus on defence saw the Knicks held to only 33 points scored in the half.
Four Magic players made double figure scoring.
The team was led by Terrence Ross who gave it everything on both ends of the court. T-Ross scored a season high as he hit 30 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.
Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 16 rebounds for his 20th double-double of the season.
Dwayne Bacon had 15 and Evan Fournier 19.
Of the 11 players Orlando had available all played and all contributed. This was a solid team performance.
Only Khem Birch failed to score but his 4 offensive rebounds led to opportunity and he also tallied 2 blocked shots.
Chasson Randle on his Magic debut had a solid 5 assists.
Orlando moved the ball, making 27 assists. They blocked 7 shots and stole the ball 10 times. The Magic were able to capitalise off the Knicks turnovers by taking 29 points.