In a game that nearly set a record for three-pointers attempted, the Orlando Magic did just enough damage inside to deal the New York Knicks a 118-103 defeat. Vince Carter and Dwight Howard led Orlando with 25 points apiece, but the real star of the night was reserve power forward Ryan Anderson, who poured in 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots in just 22 minutes. Danilo Gallinari scored a game-high 28 points and drilled 5 three-pointers for New York. Orlando shot 15-of-32 from three-point range, with Carter sinking 5 triples to lead Orlando. The Knicks weren't to be outdone, as they connected on 16 treys in 33 attempts, which is a Magic franchise record for most three-pointers allowed. The 65 combined triple-tries tonight is just 4 shy of the all-time NBA record, which the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors set on the last day of the 2004/05 regular season; thanks to blogfriend Akis Yerocostas for the tip.
|Team||Pace||Efficiency||eFG%||FT Rate||OReb%||TO Rate|
|Green denotes a stat better than the team's season average;|
red denotes a stat worse than the team's season average.
Orlando looked poised to blow the Knicks away less than three minutes into the third period, when they held a 75-51 lead. But Gallinari scored 11 points in the period, including a three-pointer over Howard's hard contest at the final buzzer, and New York drew to within 11 points. Orlando simply did not take this game seriously enough, which coach Stan Van Gundy attributed to how easily they scored themselves, reports Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel:
"When it's that easy to score it gets very difficult to get guys to get down and really defend," Van Gundy said. "I didn't like it, but it's always been a hard thing. When it's easy to score, the feeling of a sense of urgency goes out the window."
In a vacuum, the Magic are probably 15 points better than the Knicks when both teams have a day off and Orlando's playing at home, so from that standpoint the game went about as expected. But that's not really the story here: had Orlando kept applying that pressure in the third quarter, it might have won by 30 or more. Defensive slippage, some end-of-season doldrums, and the Knicks' lack of engagement to create at atmosphere that discouraged consistent effort. Understand that this was not New York's typical rapid-fire, up-and-down the floor game; the 85-possession pace is glacial by any standard. Consider that the Portland Trail Blazers play at the league's slowest pace this season, at 87.6 possessions per game. Nope, this was a half-court game that featured a lot of gunning, which is another way of saying the scores are even more gaudy than you might assume.
While I wrote that previous paragraph, the teams combined for another 7 three-pointers.
About all to take away from this one, from Orlando's perspective, is this: Carter and Jameer Nelson had it going early, scoring 23 of Orlando's 35 first-period points. They haven't had too many simultaneous bursts of brilliance this season, so that first quarter is encouraging. Then again, it's against the Knicks, which complicates any sort of analysis from this game. It's hard to tell exactly where Orlando stands right now. That's the NBA in April for you, I guess.