5 Things To Know: The Knicks Host the Magic at the Mecca
7:30 PM EST | Madison Square Garden
TV: MSG Network
Radio: ESPN NY 98.7 FM
5 Things To Know:
1. The Knicks fought back from a 15-point hole in the third quarter to capture an important Eastern Conference victory over the Pacers on Tuesday night. New York exploded on a 21-3 run in the game-changing period and shot the lights out to effectively reverse the momentum. By connecting on 56.5 percent from the arc, the Knicks ignited the home crowd en route to a 118-111 victory. Carmelo Anthony was spectacular in the win, scoring a season-high 35 points and drilling seven long bombs in dramatic fashion. New York improved to 15-13 following the win and now holds the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The Knicks are one of four teams in the East with 10-plus wins at home and they have two more contests at MSG before a three-game road trip.
2. Derrick Rose returned to the lineup on Tuesday night following a two-game absence due to a sore lower back. The point guard provided a significant impact with 24 points (9-18 FG), six assists, and four rebounds. When Rose jumped back on the floor in Los Angeles, he dropped 25 points in the victory. Rose is averaging 20.6 points per game on 57 percent shooting from the floor in his last five games (excluding Phoenix).
3. New York is climbing the NBA ranks in three-point shooting. Currently, the Knicks are the eighth-best team in the league from downtown and feature some deadly marksman in their starting lineup. Anthony is attempting 5.9 per game and hitting 35.6 percent, Kristaps Porzingis is draining 39.2 percent, and Courtney Lee is the team leader at 46.9 percent (3.1 attempts).
4. The Magic made some drastic moves over the offseason in an effort to reach the playoffs once again. Last year, Orlando won 35 games, the most victories for the franchise since the 2011-12 season. When Scott Skiles resigned as head coach, Magic management inked former Pacers head man Frank Vogel to direct the action from the sidelines. Orlando’s bold moves also included a deal that sent Victor Oladipo to Oklahoma City for Serge Ibaka, signing Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Green, and re-signing Evan Fournier. Through 30 games, Orlando is 13-17 and sitting in the 12th spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Fournier is the Magic’s go-to player on the offensive end of the floor as he’s averaging six more points (17.7) than his career average. Defensively, Orlando features a fearsome frontline with Ibaka, dunk specialist Aaron Gordon, and the ultra-athletic big man Biyombo coming off the pine. The on-paper talent hasn’t translated to the on-the-floor results quite yet as the Magic rank 19th in the NBA in defensive rating. Tonight’s game concludes a short two-game road trip before the team returns home to play three straight in Orlando.
5. On Wednesday night, the Magic overcame a four-point deficit in the first overtime session to outlast the Heat 136-130 in double overtime. Four Orlando players scored over 20 points and the team shot 49.5 percent from the floor and 50 percent behind the arc on 22 attempts.