Paolo Banchero

Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks: Game Preview

Dan Savage
Director of Digital News

Pregame Report from AdventHealth Training Center

ORLANDO – Orlando Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley often talks about the value of his young and up-and-coming team embracing challenges and learning from experiences.

Wednesday’s contest will certainly provide them a tough test.

On the second night of a back-to-back, with the All-Star break looming on the horizon, the Magic (29-25) will square off against the New York Knicks (33-21), who sit four games ahead of Orlando in the Eastern Conference playoff race, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.

“It’s about staying present in each situation,” said Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley. “Not looking ahead, not looking to the next game, not looking at vacation, or whatever the case may be. Just being present and taking care of the business at hand.”

That task will not be an easy one. Orlando has already earned a pair of victories in its two meetings with New York this season and the Knicks will almost certainly be out for revenge. The Magic will also have to put a difficult nationally televised defeat at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder behind them, a loss that stung a little extra considering it happened on the same night the franchise retired Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey.

“Knowing that we have a game (on Wednesday), you can’t sit in it too long,” Mosley said of that loss. “You just have to bounce back and be ready to go against New York.”

The Knicks are dealing with their own share of adversity. Key starters Julius Randle and OG Anunoby will miss their matchup with the Magic and trade-deadline additions Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks are still building a rhythm with their new teammates.

However, the Knicks still have plenty of firepower. Their offense is led by All-Star point guard Jalen Brunson, whose 27.5 points per game rank ninth in the NBA. The 6-foot-2 floor general has been on a torrid pace of late, averaging 33.0 points per outing in his last six contests – the most in the league over that span.

IN AND OUT: Markelle Fultz (left knee; injury maintenance), Gary Harris (right calf; injury maintenance), and Jalen Suggs (sore right groin) are out for Orlando.

For New York, Donte DiVincenzo (right hamstring; sore) and Isaiah Hartenstein (left Achilles; tendinopathy) are questionable, and Anunoby (right elbow; surgery), Randle (right shoulder; dislocated) and Mitchell Robinson (left ankle; surgery) are out.  

KEY STATS: It’s always good to be around loved ones on holidays. That’s especially true for the Magic on Valentine’s Day. The team is 7-9 all-time on Valentine’s Day, but is an impressive 7-3 when that contest takes place on their homecourt.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Orlando will forever hold a special place in my heart. I will always be proud to be part of this Magic franchise ... I want to thank (my teammates). Without (them), there would be no me.” – O’Neal at his jersey retirement ceremony