The Magic lose the home opener of the NBA 2021-22 season in a disappointing blowout performance to the New York Knicks by 121-96.
Coach Mosely again went with a starting unit of Jalen Suggs (PG), Cole Anthony (SG), Franz Wagner (SF), Wendell Carter Jr (PF) and Mo Bamba (C). By the final buzzer all five Magic starters had scored in double figures, joined in that stat by Terrence Ross from the bench.
The game however had got away quickly from the Magic. Poor defensive execution saw Orlando’s players failing to rotate into position. Offensive rebounds again hurt the team as the Knicks benefited from extra possessions and second chance points. Offensively the problems were those seen against the Spurs. Turnovers reared their head again, offensive set were not working and lacked ball movement. This resulted in what felt like a lot of one-on-one offence from which poor shot selection followed.
The Positives As The Magic Lose The Home Opener
Franz Wagner was the bright point of the first half. He showed movement and anticipation as he displayed his basketball IQ again. By the close Franz had a team leading 16 points, including going 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.
Jalen Suggs had struggles again at times, especially with his shooting. However by the close he had filled the box score stat line with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals.
Again Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr showed the understanding and promise the pair are developing. Both recorded double-doubles.
The Stretch Of What Could Be
30 down at half time the Magic looked beaten as they went into the locker room. As the third commenced the Knicks extended the lead out to 34.
What followed was a period of much improved focus and execution from Orlando as they cut into the lead. Jalen, Cole, Franz, WCJ and Mo got into it as we saw the fun and competitive team we were expecting. A 22-4 run saw the deficit down to 16 at 73-57. The recovery came on the back of an intensity on defence as they got steals and secured rebounds. A greater energy and intelligence of ball movement resulted in a confidence in shooting.
Fournier, Walker And Randle
The Knicks surprised many last season and two of the new additions propelled them through the game. Kemba Walker, as we said in our preview is a perennial Magic Killer and helped start the ball rolling with 3 threes in the first five minutes. Julius Randle led the Knicks with a 21 point double-double.
Evan Fournier returned to the Amway Center and reminded Magic fans of his scoring ability. He was not alone in scoring for New York as seven Knicks players made double digit scoring on a superb shooting display.
Moving On As The Magic Lose The Home Opener
Up next is a return date with the New York Knicks, a road game in Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
The Magic have to learn from the errors of the opening games of the season that now sees them on a 0-2 losing record. If the team can bring the play of the third quarter across a greater proportion of the return game the first W of the season could be attainable.