New York Knicks: Where losing happens. Magic, Dwight overpower Amare and Melo.
After trailing by 4 at the half, the Magic came out firing on all cylinders in the second half to defeat the New York Knicks in NY 111-99.
After leading heading into the 2nd quarter, the Magic reserves struggled mightily and even when the starters came back in, it wasn’t pretty. The Knicks put up 34 2nd quarter points to control the lead at halftime.
Stan Van Gundy didn’t make any X’s and O’s adjustments at half time, but forced his team to recognize that they weren’t focusing on their pre-game keys. They came out and played harder and made the Knicks work for everything they got.
It also helped that the Knicks couldn’t buy a shot in the second half shooting 14-44 (31.8%), 3pt – 3-11 (27.3%), FT – 9-13 (69.2%).
For the Knicks, they simply had no answer for Dwight inside as Ronny Turiaf, Amare Stoudemire and Shawne Williams took turns trying to stop him. Dwight finished the game with 33 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. In the 3 games so far against the Knicks (all wins for Orlando), Dwight is averaging 29 points per game, up 6 from his season average of 23.
The Magic took the lead for good on two Gilbert Arenas free throws with 9:41 to go and would never trail again. The win for the Magic is their 4th straight and the loss takes the Knicks to 7-10 since the Carmelo trade and 1-7 in their last 8 games. Ouch.
Let’s take a look at some of the positives and negatives from tonight:
– Dwight Howard. It goes without saying most nights, but he was huge tonight. After coasting on defense in the first half, Dwight came out and made his presence known in the second half. The Magic simply cannot win with Dwight coasting on D, and luckily he recognized that and took over the game.
– Brandon Bass had a strong night and the Magic coaching staff is probably the one to praise. Stan pointed out after the game that they are making a conscious effort to get Brandon more opportunities at or near the basket opposed to settling for jumpers at the top of the key. In the first quarter alone, Brandon took 7 free throws and knocked down all 7. He finished the game with 15 points and 7 rebounds.
– Balanced scoring! Lately it has been rare for the Magic that everyone is making shots. Tonight, all 5 Magic starters scored in double figures.
– Jameer’s confidence. He came out attacking Chauncey Billups and creating. When he was off the floor, especially in the first half, the offense stuttered. He finished with 19 points and made 4-6 3-pointers.
– The play of the bench. They struggled with their defensive rotations and continue to struggle on offense as well. While Gil played much better, Ryan Anderson really struggled and scored only 3 points in 14 minutes. Luckily, the Magic were able to overcome the spotty bench play.
– The continued absence of J.J. Redick who missed his 7th straight game.
– Turnovers. Same old story. The team actually took care of the ball relatively well in the first half, but still committed 10 second half turnovers.
– Amare’s shooting. 6-20 from the field. A positive for the Magic, but a huge negative for anyone who doesn’t like watching bricklayers.
– The Magic play the Knicks again in NY on Monday night after their earlier scheduled game from November 2nd was postponed after asbestos fell from the MSG ceiling.
– The Magic are 3-0 against the Knicks this season and have won 13 of the last 15 meetings overall with New York.
– With the win, Orlando ensured they will finish with a road record above .500. The team has finished above .500 on the road only five times now during its history – four of them coming under Van Gundy’s four seasons at the helm.
– Orlando is 11-8 in games decided by five points or less.
– Dwight Howard now has 29 straight double doubles. Take note Kevin Love!
The Magic are back home on Friday night as they take on the New Jersey Nets. The tip is set for 7pm and will be televised locally on Fox Sports Florida. Tickets are still available from as low as $19.
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