Markelle Fultz recorded 21 points, Franz Wagner scored 18, and Paolo Banchero had 16, however the Orlando Magic, despite leading most of the way and sticking to their core defensive principles, were unable to ward off the New York Knicks in Tuesday’s 102-98 loss at Amway Center.
The two starting point guards – Fultz and Jalen Brunson – traded big buckets down the stretch. Fultz made a go-ahead AND-1 floater from the baseline with 2:40 remaining; Brunson followed with a mid-range jay; Fultz responded with a ferocious slam; and then Brunson gave the Knicks the lead for good with a banker with 1:13 left. Brunson also drilled four straight free throws and Julius Randle hit two in the final seconds to seal it.
The Knicks made nine more 3-point attempts than the Magic, although they did take 18 more. There wasn’t much of a gap in most of the other key areas. Both teams committed the same number of turnovers (11); neither team scored many fast break points; and New York grabbed just two more rebounds than Orlando.
Tuesday’s attendance of 19,438 was the third largest in Magic history. The record of 19,482 was set earlier this season when the Magic hosted the Lakers on Dec. 27, 2022.
In the News
The Rising Stars Draft was held Tuesday afternoon, and the Magic’s pair of rising stars were the first two off the board. Team Pau (Gasol) selected Banchero with the first overall pick and then Team Deron (Williams) chose Franz Wagner second overall. Evan Mobley, Josh Giddey, and Jalen Green rounded out the top five.
For the first time in a very long time, nobody was on the Magic’s injury report. Mo Bamba missed his second straight contest while serving a four-game suspension and Chuma Okeke is on an assignment in Lakeland as he comes back from left knee surgery. Mitchell Robinson (thumb) was unavailable for the Knicks.
Quote of the Day
“We love that. We love every bit of that. He takes pride in that. If he continues to play at the rate he is, he will be an all first team defensive player. Because of his tenacity and because of his football background, he likes to hit people. He’s now learning how to navigate when and where to hit along with using active hands to defend without fouling.” – Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley on Jalen Suggs’ defensive tenacity
This Day in History
Feb. 7, 2019 was the day the Magic acquired Fultz from the Philadelphia 76ers. Also that day, the Magic defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves behind 32 points from Terrence Ross and 21 from Nikola Vucevic. Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 27 points, while Andrew Wiggins scored 23.
The Knicks have had a few outstanding stretches this season – such as when they won eight straight in December and then seven out of eight not long after – but they’ve also had a couple rough patches – like when they lost six of eight in late November. New York does two things extraordinarily well: protect the paint and gobble up offensive rebounds for second-chance points. But, they don’t shoot the 3-ball well and are a low-assist team.
The Magic’s three-game homestand continues Thursday when the West-leading Denver Nuggets come to town for a 7 p.m. tipoff. These teams last played on Jan. 15 in the Mile High City, with the Nuggets prevailing behind Nikola Jokic’s game-winning 3-pointer with two-tenths-of-a-second remaining. Fultz, who tied the game with a free throw on the prior possession, led Orlando with 20 points, while Franz Wagner scored 19 and Banchero had 18.