Orlando Magic (51-18) at New York Knicks (28-41), 7:30 p.m.

Viewing information: TV: Sun Sports Radio: AM 580 WDBO Spanish Radio: AM 1030 WONQ Previous meetings: Orlando 115, New York 109, Feb. 25 Orlando 110, New York 103, March 21 Since Orlando is in the second part of a home-and-home with New York, let’s take a look at the three keys of Saturday’s game and see how the Magic executed them. Three keys for the Magic: 1. Don’t let the Knicks hang around. Saturday: failed. Both times these teams have played, the Magic let the Knicks keep it close and make a run at the end. The Knicks are all but eliminated from playoff contention, but they didn’t look like they gave up on Saturday night. The Magic clamped down at the end – and really, it’s hard to see them losing a game to the Knicks – but it’d be nice for the Magic to win in blowout fashion. Let’s get Hedo and Rashard some rest. New York is coming off an embarassing home loss to the Kings, who were 0-28 against the Eastern Conference going into the game. Al Harrington is likely to return from injury, but it doesn’t matter – the Magic are so much more incredibly talented than the Knicks that they should cruise through this home game. Last time the teams met, though, the Knicks stayed within 10-15 points, eventually making a run in the final minutes and forcing the Magic to work for their victory. Tonight, for the sake of the team and Rashard Lewis’ knee, the Magic should put this one away early like they did against the Bucks on Wednesday. 2. Keep putting hands in faces. Saturday: succeeded. The Knicks scored 103 points on Saturday, but they only shot 42.4 percent from the field and 28 percent from the 3-point line. And an unreal showing from Quentin Richardson helped inflate those numbers. I’m not saying the Magic played spectacular defense on Saturday, because they didn’t. Their defense wasn’t terrible – it was the rebounding that was the problem. Orlando allowed New York to register 17 offensive rebounds on 49 missed shots, and that was without David Lee. Expect Stan Van Gundy to drill defensive rebounding into these guys’ heads before the game, and watch for the Magic to address that problem. (That’s been the best part of the SVG era. When the team has a problem, he addresses it. If the Magic are not doing something well, SVG moans and berates these guys enough where they want to fix it from game to game. It hasn’t worked, though, on the Magic’s continual struggles to the Pistons) The Magic have done a solid job of defending the perimeter in recent games, not counting LeBron James’ inhumane display of shooting earlier this week. The Knicks are a running and gunning team that never hesitates to put up an open jumper. Considering they’re afraid of going anywhere near Dwight Howard in the paint, New York would like to do most of its work at least 15 feet away from the basket. The Magic’s guards need to work out there, particularly on Nate Robinson, who had 32 points when the two teams played on Feb. 25. And, please, guard Danilo Gallinari. 3. Attack the weak Knicks interior. Saturday: failed. Unbelievably, somehow, Dwight Howard tallied one of his worst games of the season on Saturday. He battled foul trouble and garnered just 15 points and seven boards against the trio of Al Harrington, Jared Jeffries and Chris Wilcox. Like in Wednesday’s victory against the Bucks – when Dwight scored 18 points in the first quarter – I’m looking for the Magic to assert Howard right from the beginning of the game. If the Knicks are able to physically frustrate Howard like they did on Saturday, it could be a long night. David Lee is a nice player, but he’s anything but a defensive presence. Howard went off for 24 and 21 the last time these teams played, and there’s nothing the Knicks can do to keep it from happening again. Like we said on Wednesday against the Bucks, the Magic need to feed Dwight Howard early and often. Inside-out is the best method for this offense. Some game notes, courtesy of the Magic:

  • Orlando is 38-37 all-time vs. New York (21-16 at home, 17-21 on the road) during the regular season, including 1-0 this season.
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  • Orlando has won nine of the last 13 meetings overall.
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  • The Magic have won five of the last six outings at home, and won nine of the last 14 at MSG.
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  • Head Coach Stan Van Gundy is the brother of former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, and attended college at SUNY-Brockport.
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  • Assistant Coach Patrick Ewing had his No. 33 retired by the Knicks in February 2003. He is New York ’s all-time leader in games played, points, minutes, field goals made and attempted, free throws made and attempted, rebounds, steals, blocked shots and 40-point games.
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  • Assistant Coach Brendan Malone served in the same capacity with the Knicks on three separate occasions (1986-88, 1997-2000, 2003-04).
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  • Assistant Coach Steve Clifford spent three seasons with the Knicks – two as an assistant coach (2001-03) and one as an advanced scout (2000-01).
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  • Assistant Coach Bob Beyer is a native of LeRoy, N.Y., and was the head coach for Siena College from 1994-97.
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    Philip Rossman-Reich

    About Philip Rossman-Reich

    Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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