It just wouldn't be Latin Night at the Amway Arena if Carlos Arroyo weren't launching off-balance jumpers. Despite what this photo may indicate, Arroyo played under control, and the Magic walloped the Knicks, 118-92.
Photo by Fernando Medina, NBAE/Getty Images
Yes, it was as big a laugher as the boxscore indicates it was, and I'm not sure there's much more you need to know. The Knicks -- Jamal Crawford in particular -- came out en fuego, but cooled off late in the first half. Once Eddy Curry went to the bench with his third foul, we took over, as the Knicks had no one who could contain Dwight Howard. Zach Randolph, the Knicks' other big-man, missed the game with a sore foot, forcing coach Isiah Thomas to use 6'8" David lee and 6'6" Malik Rose on the Magic's star center. From that point, we went on a 23-7 run to close out the first half, and the Knicks never seriously contested for the rest of the game.
Because of injuries to Jameer Nelson and Keyon Dooling (John Denton has the scoop), center James Augustine and forward Marcin Gortat were available tonight. And, no the delight of many Magic fans, they got to play, as did Pat Garrity and J.J. Redick. Gortat made his NBA debut, scoring the first basket of his NBA career on a pretty reverse layup. You can watch the video of the play, graciously captured by NCYMagicFan, by clicking here. Tony Battie's celebratory dance on the Magic bench is priceless.
We're once again 15 games over .500 and, more importantly, we took care of business on our home floor. We also saw great performances by everyone, but there were a few exceptional ones that I should mention: Dwight Howard had 26 points and 20 rebounds for his seventh 20/20 game of the season; Hedo Turkoglu finished just two rebounds shy of a triple-double; and Carlos Arroyo dished 8 assists and only one turnover in his first start since February 6th.
One final note: the Dwight Howard/Rashard Lewis/Hedo Turkoglu trio has started in 60 of the Magic's 61 games this season. Tonight's game was just the second time each of those players scored more than 20 points in a single game. The first time, probably not coincidentally, also came against the Knicks.
Obviously, we can't let this huge win get to our heads. We have Toronto at home on Tuesday, and they're going to be tough to beat. UPDATE: Doug Smith of the Toronto Star reports that the Raptors will likely be without Chris Bosh for Tuesday's game. I'm nonplussed. Toronto's point guard tandem of Jose Calderon and T.J. Ford is good enough to beat us by itself.