The Orlando Magic earned what might have been their best win of the season when they rallied to defeat the New York Knicks 102-93 Sunday afternoon. It was a back-and-forth game throughout and the Magic trailed by as many as eight in the first half and six in the second before outscoring the Knicks by 11 in the final quarter.
Ryan Anderson led the Magic with a career-high 30 points while Carmelo Anthony finished with 33 points on 9-of-27 shooting for the Knicks.
The Magic executed very well down the stretch. After a Jameer Nelson free throw cut New York’s lead to 85-84 with 6:07 to go, the Magic made three-pointers on three of their next four baskets (Turkoglu, Anderson, Turkoglu) and wound up outscoring the Knicks 18-8 in that last 6:07. The Magic went 17-of-35 from beyond the arc Sunday and posted an effective field goal percentage of 62.7%.
The Knicks, on the other hand, went just 5-of-20 from behind the three-point line and had an eFG% of just 44.5%, doing most of their damage on the free throw line. Early in the game, the Magic couldn’t keep the Knicks off of the foul line and really paid for it – the Knicks went 17-of-18 from the line in the first half. The Magic still put the Knicks on the line 15 times in the second half, but they cooled off, hitting only 11. Carmelo Anthony took some bad shots and had an awful day shooting wise (9-of-27 from the field), but he got himself to the line 16 times and hit half of those 28 New York free throws. In the second half, Orlando went to a zone and gave the Knicks chances to beat them with the three-point shot, but they couldn’t do it.
After the game, Stan Van Gundy said part of the reason he went to the zone was because he “was scared to death of Carmelo Anthony.” The Magic have no wing defender to put on a guy like Anthony. They tried Quentin Richardson, but he quickly got into foul trouble. Next in line was Earl Clark, but he doesn’t have the strength to deal with Anthony.
Ryan Anderson scored a career-high 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting, which included going 7-of-13 from beyond the arc. In his postgame interview with Sun Sports, Anderson gave all of the credit to Dwight Howard. Although he’s partially right (Howard was often double -teams despite the job Tyson Chandler did with him. Chandler was very physical with Howard and did a solid job), Anderson deserves plenty of credit for knocking down all of those shots.
It was a tough day for Howard, who picked up a couple of cheap offensive fouls. He scored just eight points on 2-of-9 shooting despite playing a game-high 38 minutes.
Orlando’s wings, Hedo Turkoglu and J.J. Redick were great. Jason Richardson is probably out for this back-to-back-to-back with a bone bruise in his left knee and Redick got off to a great start filling in for him. With the Magic struggling early on, Redick scored 11 first quarter points on 4-of-6 shooting. The rest of the Magic scored just six points on 3-of-14 shooting (21.4%). Redick finished with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including two difficult, fast break fourth quarter layups that helped put the game away. Turkoglu often brought the ball up because Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert was giving Orlando’s point guards trouble bringing the ball up (Shumpert had three steals). Turkoglu did a good job of running the offense, especially in the fourth quarter when they Magic again constantly ran a staggered pick-and-roll with Turkoglu and Howard. He hit two huge three-pointers and wound up with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting for the game.
Next Up: The Magic will host the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night.
Final Thought: Considering the Magic were missing a starter, fell behind early and were playing a playoff team on the road, this might have been their best win of the season.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, ESPN Florida’s Magic Insider (http://ESPNFlorida.com) and is the co-host of the ESPNFlorida.com Insiders Show Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him onTwitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here)
Topics: Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Duhon, Dwight Howard, Glen Davis, Hedo Turkoglu, Iman Shumpert, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Landry Fields, Larry Hughes, Mike Dantoni, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Toney Douglas, Tyson Chandler, Von Wafer