Knicks top Magic 91-84 in Monday matinee, break streak of 40 back-to-back sweepless series
- Updated: January 19, 2021
It was a very poor game to watch with horrible shooting on both sides, that the Knicks managed somehow to win, 91-84.
RJ Barrett led the Knicks with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Julius Randle scored 21 and collected 17 boards.
In spite of being in control for most of the game, the Knicks blew a 14 point lead in the fourth quarter, allowing the Magic to take their first lead of the game since the early minutes of the first. After three quarters of sad basketball the closing minutes were a thrill to watch.
Terrence Ross shot an impossible three at the buzzer to put the Magic up 81-80 with under two minutes on the clock. New York responded with Randle who tied the game from the free throw line, then made a spin move around Khem Birch and layed another two points for the home team.
Aaron Gordon had the chance to tie the game again but turned the ball over to Barrett whose layup did not disappoint. The Magic couldn’t get back in the final seconds and the Knicks won back-to-back games for the first time since October 29&30 2017. In between, there were 40 series that the Knicks were unable to sweep.
Looking at the stats sheet, it’s hard to tell which was the better team. The Knicks shot 35.6% from the field. The Magic shot 33.7%. The Knicks, however, were tougher on defense, and that’s what made the difference these last couple of days.
“Shots weren’t falling and [I was] missing layups. (…) That’s how the game is. It’ll reward you eventually. You’ve just got to be mentally strong, stay with it and try to play the game the right way and eventually it’ll come around.”
– Julius Randle
Speaking of, the Knicks have the third best defense in the league, allowing just 97.5 points per 100 possessions (behind Dallas and Detroit), but that’s what you get when Tom Thibodeau coaches.
Immanuel Quickley had another exciting night with 11 points of the bench in 15 minutes.
The Magic – who played with their top guards on the injury list – were led by Nikola Vucevic’s 24 points and 14 rebounds while Ross added 19 off the bench. Cole Anthony, the rookie from Manhattan and son of Greg Anthony, scored just 6 points while shooting 2-12 from the field and missed a clutch three in the closing minute, in his first game against the Knicks.
Next-up: The Knicks (7-8) will go on a west coast trip that will start on Thursday against the Warriors (7-6).