Magic Take Down Knicks 118-103

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The Magic defeated the New York Knicks 118-103 on Friday night. Similar to their first two meetings with the Knicks, in which they posted a 114-102 victory and a 118-104 victory, there wasn’t a whole lot of defense. Orlando was able to build a big lead, but let the Knicks cut a 24-point lead down to eight in the final period, before closing out the game strong. Dwight Howard and Vince Carter each scored 25 points to lead the Magic while Danilo Gallinari scored 28 points for the Knicks.

NBA Stats

NBA Stats

NBA

Defense certainly didn’t seem like a priorirty on Friday night. Although Vince Carer told reporters after the game that defense is “always the first priority,” it sure didn’t didn’t seem that way. The Magic let the Knicks shoot an effective field goal percentage of 58.1%, mostly because they allowed the Knicks to hit 16 of their 33 three-point attempts. The Knicks went just 19-of-41 from inside the arc (46.3%).

Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy admitted that the Magic didn’t think they needed to play great defense. Although he disagrees, Van Gundy did admit that he knows where the players are coming from.

“When it’s that easy to score, it’s really hard to get guys to go down there and defend,” Van Gundy told the media following the game. “I don’t like it and I get upset about it but it’s just always been a hard thing and I understand it from a player’s standpoint. I don’t like it, but I understand it.”

Orlando countered the Knicks’ offense with 118 points of their own. They were just barely outdone from beyond the arc – they went 15-of-32 from downtown. The Magic shot the ball better and more often than the Knicks from inside the arc, hitting 32 of their 52 two-point attempts (61.5%). The Magic had excellent ball movement, assisting on 28 of their 47 turnovers and turning the ball over just nine times.

“I think we were really moving the ball well and getting open shots,” Ryan Anderson told the media following the game.

Dwight Howard was dominate. The big man scored 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting, grabbed 13 rebounds and once again played excellent defense. David Lee has struggled against the Magic all season and it was no different on Friday. With Howard on him, Lee managed just 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting and seven rebounds. In fact, Knicks Head Coach Mike D’Antoni gave Howard credit for forcing the Knicks to take so many three-pointers.

“Well they do have a big guy inside that makes it kind of rough,” D’Antoni told reporters. “We played hard. We played pretty well. They just outmanned us. They’re just better.”

Vince Carter looks he has found the fountain of youth. Cater not only went baseline and threw down another spectacular one-handed dunk, but he hit five three-pointers en route to a 25-point night. Carter also did an excellent job as a playmaker – he was a big reason why the Magic had such a good assist-to-turnover ratio. Carter dished out five assists and turned the ball over just twice.

Ryan Anderson had another excellent and efficient game off the bench. He scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while only three of those field goals were three-pointers. He got things done in other ways. He grabbed six rebounds, four offensive, including a put-back of his own miss. He even got a dunk off of a great pass from Dwight Howard when Howard grabbed a miss and backed out before finding Anderson cutting to the hoop. Anderson also dished out three assists and turned the ball over just once.

Van Gundy said there was “nothing” the Magic could take from the victory, but Carter disagreed.

“This is a challenge for us,” Carter said. “This is a team that shoots the ball around the perimeter like we do and the challenge was good for us because it’s a different look than most teams because they don’t really play in the post much.”

Game Notes:

  • The Magic have attempted 2,158 three-pointers this season, which is a franchise record. They have made 809 of those shots ( 37.5%).
  • The Magic are 22-0 when shooting over 50.0% from the floor. They shot 56.0% on Friday.
  • Dwight Howard picked up his league-leading 61st double-double.
  • The Magic have won 10 of their last 12 games against the Knicks.
  • The Magic had some issues at the free throw line. They were just 9-of-18 from the charity stripe. Howard was 3-of-8.

Next Up: The Magic will travel to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Sunday afternoon. LeBron James has missed two consecutive games and Van Gundy was not sure about his status for Sunday’s game.

Final Thought: This game was very similar to the first two meetings between the Magic and the Knicks. The defense wasn’t great, but the Magic still took care of business.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).