Knicks drop to Magic at home in heartbreak drama
In a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matchup, the New York Knicks faced a tough loss against the Orlando Magic, closing the game with a 94-98 loss.
Miles McBride dropped a new career-high with 20 points, leading the Knicks in scoring. OG Anunoby added 17 points, while Julius Randle and Donte DiVincenzo contributed 15 points each.
Anunoby’s three-pointer gave the Knicks an 88-81 lead with 7:38 remaining, seemingly putting them in control. However, the Magic responded with a 13-1 run, taking the lead after trailing since before halftime. The Knicks, unfortunately, couldn’t find their rhythm and kept missing crucial shots.
Randle’s driving layup helped cut the lead to 97-94, but it proved too little too late. Paolo Banchero’s made free throw sealed the game for the Magic. Missing Jalen Brunson for the second straight game, the Knicks felt the absence of their playmaker.
“We were up five going into the fourth. They’re a good defensive team. We got to trust the pass. I thought we missed some open shots that we got to make. The rebounding was a problem. They got timely rebounds. (…) We should’ve been in position to win the game. And then offensively, we got to do better.”
– Tom Thibodeau
McBride, having his second consecutive career game, shot 8-17 from the field despite missing several three-pointers. His performance was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing game for the Knicks.
However, despite McBride’s solid game, Randle, who is usually the go-to player in Brunson’s absence, struggled significantly. Randle shot 5-18 from the field, making just three attempts in the fourth quarter, including a critical missed three-pointer with 29 seconds left to play.
Isaiah Hartenstein dominated the boards with 12 rebounds and added 7 points to his name. Quentin Grimes led the second unit with 8 points off the bench.
The Magic had a balanced scoring effort, with Banchero leading the way with 20 points; Wendell Carter Jr scored 17 buckets while Chuma Okeke, and Cole Anthony each contributing 15 points.
The loss against the Magic stung for the Knicks, especially considering they had control for most of the game. The team will need to regroup and address the offensive struggles, particularly in Randle’s performance.
Despite the disappointment, the Knicks look forward to an advantageous schedule, playing 11 of their next 13 games at the Madison Square Garden. With one of the two road games scheduled in Brooklyn, the team has an opportunity to bounce back and regain momentum.