The Orlando Magic have now won three games in a row and will look to make it four straight when they host the New York Knicks Wednesday night. The Knicks have won seven of their last eight games, including a 89-80 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks Monday night that evened their record at 25-25. The Magic enter with a record of 32-18.
These two teams met on Martin Luther King Day in New York and the Magic rallied behind a career-high 30 points from Ryan Anderson for a 102-93 victory.
The Magic rank 16th in offensive rating (104.6), 10th in defensive rating (102.0) and play at the league’s fourth-slowest pace (89.4). The Knicks are 23rd in offensive rating (102.5), fourth in defensive rating (100.0) and play at the third-fastest pace (94.2).
Tip-off from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST. The game will be shown locally on Sun Sports and nationally on ESPN.
As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen on the radio – in English on AM 580 WDBO and FM 96.5 and in Spanish on AM 1270 WRLZ.
The officials for tonight’s game are Marc Davis, Karl Lane and Eric Lewis.
The Line: Orlando – 1.5 (188.5u)
New York Knicks
Forwards Amar’e Stoudemire (bulging disk), Jared Jefferies (right knee inflammation) and Bill Walker (left elbow surgery) are out.
*Forward Carmelo Anthony (sore right groin) will play.
**Point Guard Jeremy Lin (sore left knee) is out. Baron Davis will start in his place with Mike Bibby backing him up.
Despite their reputation under former Mike Dantoni, the Knicks have been among the league’s best defensive teams and rank in the bottom third of the league in offense.
This game also represents a contrast of styles – the Knicks play at the third-fastest pace in the league while the Magic play at the fourth-slowest pace.
Clearly, when you have the fourth best defense in the NBA, there a lot of reasons behind it, but we’ll focus on the most important reason – Center Tyson Chandler, who the Knicks signed away from the World Champion Dallas Mavericks. Chandler has missed just two games this season and is averaging 11.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.52 blocks per game. Chandler had just four points and eight rebounds in the first meeting between the two clubs, but he also helped hold Dwight Howard to eight points and 10 rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony has been widely criticized this year and deservedly so. Although he is putting up a team-high 20.2 points per game, he’s shooting just 39.9% from the field and 28.9% from beyond the arc. His true shooting percentage is just 49.6% and he is posting an effective field goal percentage of 42.8%. To put that in perspective, Glen Davis (38.8%) is the only regular rotation player on the Magic with a lower effective field goal percentage. Anthony did, however, score 33 points in the first meeting between the two teams. Early on, he was aggressive, scoring 14 of his points from the charity stripe. He soon fell in love with the long, contested two-point jumper and wound up going just 9-of-27 from the field.
- With Jeremy Lin out, that leaves Baron Davis and Mike Bibby to man the point. Jameer Nelson has to take advantage.
- The Knicks had no answer for Ryan Anderson in January – he did a great job of stretching the defense and had a career-high 30 points.
- Steve Novak is no Ryan Anderson, but he can help the Knicks stretch the floor with Amar’e Stoudemire out – Novak is shooting 48.1%(!) from beyond the arc this season.
- Backup point guard Chris Duhon actually has the Knicks’ team-record for most assists in a game – he had 22 in a win over the Warriors back on November 29, 2008 (Thanks to our buddy Sam Gardner of Fox Sports for the reminder. Sam will be in attendance so give him a follow.).
- The Magic have won seven of the last eight games against the Knicks.
(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 on Twitter 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, Ish Smith, J.j. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson, Landry Fields, Larry Hughes, Mike Dantoni, Mike Woodson, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Otis Smith, Quentin Richardson, Ryan Anderson, Stan Van Gundy, Toney Douglas, Tyson Chandler, Von Wafer