Knicks survive in Magic thriller as Reggie Bullock steals the game-winner
This one’s to remember. Julius Randle recorded his 3rd triple double of the season scoring 18 points, dishing 17 assists and grabbing 10 boards as the Knicks survived the Orlando Magic and won 94-93 in one of the most thrilling fourth quarters of the season.
The game had ups and downs with both teams fighting to secure their lead. Orlando went up by 10 early in the first quarter, the Knicks came back in the second and took a four point lead at halftime.
In the second half, New York went up by as many as 16 but Magic’s 14-0 run from the end of the third quarter cut the lead to just a couple.
The fourth was wild, with the lead changing several times but everything came down for the final play. Trailing by one but having the possession with 13.3 seconds on the clock, the Magic inbounded the ball as Evan Fournier managed to break out and receive the ball at halfcourt. Defended by Reggie Bullock (who turned the ball over on the previous play), Fournier used Nikola Vucevic’s screen to escape his defender who managed to slide between them and get a glimpse of the pass, deflecting the ball and stealing a potential game winner. Bullock passed the ball to Alec Burks who advanced without any pressure as time expired.
“I’m going to give credit to Reggie because he got a deflection but really it’s just me being naive. I made a rookie mistake. The last two plays they double-teamed me on top of the key on my pick & roll and i made a mistake. Instead of reading the play, I starting the play ahead and I was anticipating… I’m sorry. It’s really my fault.”
– Evan Fournier
Bullock, the hero of the night came off the bench for the first time this season and did it in style. He scored 20 points and made six three pointers. He also had 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals but was this close to become the villain of the night.
Burks scored a team-high 21 points shooting 10-18 from the field and also added 10 boards.
Frank Ntilikina, really impressed in his third start of the season. In spite of going scoreless in the first half, the french guard scored 11 of his total 13 points in the third quarter and made three shots from behind the arc. RJ Barrett had 17 buckets and 9 boards.
Both teams are going through some tough times with unavailable players on their roster. The Magic got back Fournier and Aaron Gordon from injuries but are still missing several key components including Markelle Fultz, Michael-Carter Williams or the rookie Cole Anthony. The Knicks on the other hand are shortened on the backcourt by Mitchell Robinson while the frontcourt is technically gone with all their guards (Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton, Immanuel Quickley and Austin Rivers) unavailable.
After two consecutive loses on the road, to the top teams in the east, Nets and Sixers, the Knicks returned to .500 with their 21st win of the season. Last year for example, the Knicks had 21 wins at the end of the season (21-45).
And last, but not least, Randle’s performance is for the record books as he became the first Knick to log at least three triple-doubles in one season since the 1981-82 season, when Michael Ray Richardson had seven of those.
Up-next: The Knicks (21-21) are set to get back at the Sixers (28-13) on Sunday night from 7:00 pm at Madison Square.