Magic run wild over new look Knicks
In came the mighty new look New York Knicks and out went the team that is still 5 defenders away from being a legitimate threat to anyone in the East. Orlando defeated the Knicks 116-110 Thursday night at the Amway Center and the surge they needed came from some unlikely sources.
It was the defense and intensity off the bench from Quentin Richardson in the second half that allowed Orlando to come back from their disastrous second quarter. After leading by 11 after the first quarter, the Magic completely stunk it up on all fronts in the second quarter and were outscored by 22 points to trail by 11 at the half.
When Q checked into the game with 4:49 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the Magic were still down by 10. He immediately made his presence known by grabbing a big defensive rebound and following it up with a layup on the opposite end. It was hustle, strength and toughness that really spurred on the Magic though.
While Q brought the toughness, the refs brought the whistle. In fact, the only reason that Q was even in the game was due to Hedo Turkoglu getting ejected with 4 minutes left in the first half. A loose quote of what he said follows, “jhdsfhadfsjah sdjfhasdjfh jhadsfjhasf jhsdfljhasdf”. That will get you ejected every time. There ended up being a total of 5 player technicals by the end of the game, with none of them belonging to Dwight Howard.
If Q was the answer defensively, then Jameer Nelson was his equivalent on offense. After having only 3 points at the half, ‘Meer erupted for 23 in the second half and was the spark plug the Magic needed. Once Jameer began heating up, Stan Van Gundy began continuously running high pick and rolls to get ‘Meer rolling to the basket. The floor was opened up thanks to Ryan Anderson’s hot three point shooting (4-5) and it allowed Nelson to get the basket. Most importantly though, Jameer converted his layups which have been a problem for him as of late. To be fair, layups are tough shots.
More news/notes/tidbits/quotes/stats/random stats below:
- Dwight Howard was his typical dominant self and you almost take him for granted because of it. Dwight finished with 30 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocks for his 11st straight 20-10 game and his 19th straight double double. A couple of those blocks were statement blocks at the rim on Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
- Dwight also became the youngest player in NBA history tonight to record 7,000 career rebounds. To earn that honor, he passed Wilt Chamberlain. Not bad company.
- Carmelo finished with 25 points but it took him 24 shots to get there. Not exactly efficient. It was a race at the end to see if he could jack up a few more shots to get the 1:1 ratio, but in the end he fell short. Better luck next time ‘Melo. New York, New York.
- Chauncey Billups had an even more impressive stat as he was able to finish the game with 30 points despite making only 4 field goals. How you may ask? By shooting 18-20 from the free throw line. Perhaps it was a generous whistle or maybe he legitimately earned them, but regardless… it was impressive. The 20 free throw attempts was a career high.
- Mike D’Antoni had a fun quote regarding the free throw attempts for both teams, which totaled 97. “Way too many, except we could have had a few more.” Really Mikey? Just stop it. Orlando probably could have had more than their 50 as well, but we also would have been here until 1 in the morning.
- The Magic and Knicks combined to tie a Magic franchise record with those 97 free throw attempts. The last time it happened was November 20th, 1990. The leading scorer of that game for the Magic? Terry Catledge with 17. Otis Smith had 15.
- Gilbert Arenas was unavailable tonight with a sore left knee. The Magic training staff made the decision about an hour before tipoff and his status is currently listed as day-to-day. Stan described it was the “ever present, day-to-day” to be specific. The good, or bad news depending on how you look at it, is that Gil will not be having surgery any time soon. Chris Duhon stepped up in the reserve spot and despite dishing out 5 assists, looked like a guy who hadn’t played in a real game in a long time.
- The Magic improved to 15-1 on the season when they score 110 or more points.
- The Magic scored a season-high 69 second half points. Part of that was good execution and shooting and a lot of it was bad defense by the Knicks. The team is undersized and is filled with guys that don’t truly want to defend. Good ball movement and any semblance of interior scoring should beat the Knicks the majority of the time.
Quote of the night comes from Quentin Richardson discussing how the team responded after being down at halftime, “We drew the line and were not going to let this one slip away.”
The Magic are back in action against another tough team on Thursday night in Miami. Game time is set for 8pm and will be broadcast nationally on TNT.
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