Orlando Magic Grades: Orlando Magic fight off New York Knicks

Paolo Banchero led the Orlando Magic to a win over the New York Knicks with some clutch shot-making. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Paolo Banchero led the Orlando Magic to a win over the New York Knicks with some clutch shot-making. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports /

105. 27. 111. 38. Final

The Orlando Magic’s 19-point second-quarter lead? That disappeared by the end of the third quarter. Their 10-point fourth-quarter lead? That was in jeopardy.

The New York Knicks are a team like their coach, scrappy and hard-fighting team. They are in their own playoff battle. Even without Jalen Brunson they were not going to go away.

Once again, it would come down to the team’s ability to execute. Would they make the plays, get the stops and the shots they needed to win?

This has been the question all year and especially this late in the season as the pressure is ramping up on everyone. The Magic are still hanging onto their playoff hopes and they know it starts with taking care of their own business game by game and moment by moment.

The Orlando Magic executed some key plays down the stretch to hold off the New York Knicks and score a big win in their fleeting postseason chase.

So it came down to a few plays to give them some breathing room and put the Knicks into panic mode. And they got it from their young rookie, hitting the big shot when they need it most.

Paolo Banchero beat up the Knicks’ defense throughout the first half, but struggled with their double-teaming scheme throughout the second half, committing three turnovers for the game.

But he found the breakthrough late in the fourth quarter, feeding Wendell Carter at the top of the key after he got stuck.

Wendell Carter froze the defense with his slow pump fake, drove and kicked to Markelle Fultz who immediately fired to Paolo Banchero who relocated to the corner. He promptly drained the three to give the Magic a seven-point lead.

The Magic followed that up with a pull-up three from Cole Anthony. That did not put the game fully out of reach, but it was enough to secure a 111-106 victory over the Knicks at Amway Center.

Orlando withstood several rallies throughout the game but it again came down to the final moments and the final plays of the game. It again came down to the Magic making shots down the stretch.

Orlando stepped up in a big way as the team has done in several recent wins. It withstood losing that big lead and entering the fourth quarter tied. This was a gutsy win with the Magic matching the Knicks’ physicality and withstanding some frustrating misses throughout the game.

The Magic showed a ton of maturity to secure the win.

Player Grades

Paolo Banchero looked every part the star for much of this game. He scored 21 points on 7-for-17 shooting, adding six rebounds, four assists and two blocks. He did a good job driving into the lane and soaking up attention. In the first half, at least, he was great at kicking out to teammates.<p>Banchero’s real strength in this game was his defense. He was the primary defender on Julius Randle and helped hold the Knicks big man to 23 points on 7-for-20 shooting, including 2 for 9 3-pointers. He did a good job moving his feet and using his own size and mobility to make Randle work on the block and cut off his drives.</p><p>This was one of Banchero’s best games.</p><p>Banchero had his late-game heroics. But throughout the second half, he got stuck on several occasions on drives and made poor passes na dpoor decisions. A lot of player smade poor decisions throughout the game when they drove to the lane, getting stuck and having their shots blocked — New York totaled nine blocks for the game.</p><p>It was an overall great game for Banchero and one where he stepped up in the biggest moment.</p>. F. Orlando Magic. PAOLO BANCHERO. B+

WENDELL CARTER. B. Wendell Carter provided the other bulwark in the paint against Julius Randle. And his individual defense on Randle was solid. But he struggled in a ton of areas, especially keeping Mitchell Robinson off the offensive glass — he had six of the New York Knicks’ 13 offensive rebounds.<p>Still, Carter provided a good presence in the paint on both ends. And he hit some key shots down the stretch.</p><p>Carter finished with 16 points on 7-for-13 shooting, adding eight rebounds. He was a good outlet and did a good job crashing from the dunker spot for dump-offs throughout the game.</p>. C. Orlando Magic

B+. Franz Wagner continued to have a strong game, helping lead the bench unit that built the lead in the second quarter and raced ahead in the fourth quarter to give the Orlando Magic some cushion.<p>He was aggressive and attacked the basket — sometimes to his detriment. But there was no settling. He missed his only 3-point attempt. Wagner finished with 16 points on 7-for-12 shooting.</p><p>Wagner left the game in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a sprained ankle. But it did not appear serious as he walked off the court.</p>. F. Orlando Magic. FRANZ WAGNER

PG. Orlando Magic. MARKELLE FULTZ. C+. It was a rough game for Markelle Fultz in a lot of ways. The Orlando Magic at time struggled to get organized offensively and Fultz seemed to hit a flat tire. He just could not get into a rhythm and made several bad shot choices at the rim.<p>Fultz finished with 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting. He had eight assists which was a good sign of how he got the ball moving. But it was still not a particularly strong effort. Certainly not the kind of game the Magic have gotten from Fultz recently.</p><p>And Orlando just seemed stuck offensively at times throughout the game, especially when the team gave up the lead in the third quarter. Fultz had at least a part in that with his struggles to take over the game and get the team back under control.</p>

dark. Next. Kevon Harris makes his impact by staying ready

The Orlando Magic conclude their homestand Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets.