by Jonah Ballow

How It Happened:
Despite missing their top two scorers, the Knicks battled the Magic until the final buzzer on Sunday afternoon.  Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out of the contest due to a sprained ankle and illness and Tim Hardaway Jr. was a late scratch as he is dealing with a stress injury in his lower left leg.  Orlando built a 17-point lead but New York put together a 10-0 run early in the third frame and tied the ball game at 85-85 with 5:49 remaining in the period.  Down the stretch, Nikola Vucevic delivered clutch buckets to provide some separation for the road team.  The Magic center completed an And-1 following a hard dunk prior to a 3-pointer at the top of the arc to stretch Orlando’s advantage to 93-85.  Jarrett Jack connected on a deep bucket of his own with 26 seconds on the clock but New York simply ran out of time to complete the comeback.  Vucevic hit 13-of-19 shots from the floor for a game-high 34 points in the win.

Knick of the Night:
Michael Beasley started in place of Porzingis and finished with 21 points on 52.6 percent shooting in 27 minutes of floor time.    

Enes Kanter posted another double-double with 18 points and 16 boards.  Courtney Lee added 19 points and Lance Thomas recorded 11 off the pine.

Statistically Speaking:
There was a considerable disparity at the free throw line today, considering Orlando reached the charity stripe 29 times compared to New York’s 10 attempts.

News and Notes:
Porzingis and Hardaway Jr. will not travel with the team tonight.  Frank Ntilikina retruned to the lineup after a one-game absence and scored nine points in 16 minutes.

Next Up:
The Knicks will jump on a plane directly after today’s contest and fly to Indiana.  Tomorrow night, New York squares off against the Pacers at 7:00 PM on MSG Network.