The Magic trailed the Knicks by five points at the end of the first half despite giving up 10 3-pointers, a 10-point first-quarter lead and he confidence to keep shooting.
New York is a team built on its offense and needed that little bit (including Thursday night's 30-point win at Brooklyn) to become the team everyone believed they would one day become. Too much attention on Carmelo Anthony opens everything up for that offense.
When your offense remains stagnant and unable to hit a shot for the final 24 minutes, it opens things up a whole lot more.
Orlando's defense was lax, giving up at least 28 points in every quarter and at least 30 in the final three. The offense was even more lax in the second half, committing 11 turnovers leading to 20 points and shooting 37.5 percent from the floor, that turned a five-point halftime deficit into a 38-point, 121-83 romp at Madison Square Garden on Friday.
The Magic's offensive movement and fluidity ceased completely in the second half. The Magic made only 12 shots. Unsurprisingly eight of those were assisted. The ball was not moving quick enough or nearly enough as New York put pressure on the Magic defense and protected the rim better with confident weakside rotations.
That opened things up on the break. But it was not just the break that proved to be the Magic's biggest problems. Carmelo Anthony was sharing the ball out of the post and the Magic dug down too hard, leaving those shooters open.
The Knicks made 10 3-pointers in the first and added seven more on 16 attempts in the second half. New York got whatever they wanted in the second half, moving the ball in and out with ease and attacking a lax Orlando defense.
Some of it was good defense getting beat by confident offense. Some of it was the Magic succumbing to foul trouble — Maurice Harkelss faced foul issues and so did Andrew Nicholson, making his first start of the year in Nikola Vucevic's place. Orlando was just not in sync tonight on either end.
The result just seemed to snowball as frustration grew and grew and grew. You could see it in the body language for the Magic. The Knicks were just that confident.
Carmelo Anthony led seven Knicks players in double figures with 20 points in the game. Andrea Bargnani and J.R. Smith each had 17 points.
Arron Afflalo matched Anthony with 20 points of his own and Victor Oladipo added 17 points. Jameer Nelson made his returned to the lineup after a three-game absence to score 17 points and dish out nine asists.
Good shots in the second half would not fall. And the good looks were much harder to find. It is just not a good way to try to keep up with a team that is shooting the lights out and playing with so much confidence and energy. The defense needed to be better and rotate better. It just did not happen.
A rough night only begins to describe it.