Magic Beat Knicks Behind Big Scoring Night From Terrence Ross, Tenacious Team Defense

by Josh Cohen

The Lead

In Wednesday’s matchup at Amway Center between the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks, there were 23 lead changes prior to the six-minute mark of the third quarter. From that point on, it was the Magic, behind their stifling defense and hot shooting from Terrence Ross, who took control and cruised to a 107-89 victory.

Key Stretch

From the midway point of the third all the way to the eight-minute mark of the fourth, the Knicks made just one shot. Orlando’s tenacious defense fueled its offensive aggressiveness. Ross scored 13 of his season-high 30 points during that 22-4 Magic run.

Top Performer

As we’ve seen so many times the past couple years, the Magic are a completely different team when Ross is on his A-game. He has such a unique skill to create space even when defenders are coming at him from all different directions and angles. He has now scored at least 20 points 10 times this season and in four of Orlando’s last five games. It was his seventh 30-plus-point scoring performance since joining the Magic in 2017.

Back in Action

Evan Fournier returned to the Magic’s starting lineup after missing the last five games with back spasms. That injury had also caused him to sit out nine games earlier in the year. The 6-foot-7 shooting guard scored 19 points on 8-for-15 overall shooting and 3-for-5 3-point shooting. Also back for Orlando was Al-Farouq Aminu, who was on the court for 12 minutes and made his one shot attempt in his second game of the year after missing 14 ½ months with a knee injury.

Magic Debut

Chasson Randle, signed by the Magic to a two-way contract earlier this week, recorded two points, two rebounds and five assists in his first game with his new team. The 6-foot-2 guard, who is Stanford’s all-time leading scorer, gives Orlando much-needed depth in the backcourt with Markelle Fultz (torn ACL, left knee) out for the season and Cole Anthony (non-displaced fracture, right rib) out until at least the All-Star break.

Key Stat

In the first half, the Knicks shot 53.8 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. After halftime, they shot just 25 percent from the floor and 21 percent from downtown. The Magic also limited the Knicks to just 16 total assists. Interestingly enough, when these teams squared off at Madison Square Garden in January, New York had only 15 dimes.

Quote of the Night

“He’s got the catch-and-shoot aspect where he made the big ones tonight. He made two or three. I don’t even know sometimes how he gets them off, but he’s so gifted in that way. He’s balanced…Also, he has the pick-and-roll game, which he has developed and can play off the second and third dribble and he’s much more confident with it and it makes it more difficult to defend.” – Magic Head Coach Steve Clifford on Ross

Up Next

The Magic’s four-game homestand continues on Friday when they welcome the Golden State Warriors to town. Orlando played Golden State just last week in San Francisco, with the Warriors coming out on top behind a 40-point performance from Stephen Curry. The Magic had only nine available players that night and finished with just eight as Frank Mason III, who was waived when the team signed Randle, suffered a groin injury early on.

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