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A Clunker: Knicks 100, Magic 90

The Magic took the night off, somehow managing to lose to the Knicks. Mike From Illinois did not take the night off. Here's his recap. - BQR

The Magic, having already clinched the third seed in the East, had very little to play for Sunday night against the Knicks except to stay sharp as the playoffs near and to avoid an embarrassing loss.  The Magic failed miserably, as the Knicks, losers of 17 of their previous 19 games and having not beaten a team currently over .500 since mid-February, had the lead for virtually the entire game and sent the Magic to a 100-90 loss.

Even though the Magic outshot the Knicks from the field 40% to 35.9%, the Knicks shot better from 3 point range (30.4% to 25%), from the free throw line (77.1% to 58.6%), outrebounded the Magic (55-52), had a better assist/turnover ratio than the Magic (20/8 to 17/14), and had better bench production than the Magic (29-14).

Only four players scored in double figures for the Magic led by Hedo Turkoglu with 22 pts, 6 asts.  Jameer Nelson added 19 pts but only 1 assist and 4 turnovers; Maurice Evans 16 pts, 7 rebounds.  Dwight Howard struggled again offensively, scoring just 13 points, including 3 of 10 on free throws, but did grab 15 rebs.  Rashard Lewis had one of his worst offensive games of the season, scoring just 6 pts on 2 of 12 shooting, but did grab 9 rebounds with 6 assists.

Six players scored in double figures for the Knicks, as rookie Wilson Chandler scored a career-high 23 points.  Zach Randolph added 20 points and 11 rebounds.

The Magic got off to a horrible start, trailing after one quarter 26-12, shooting just 5 of 19.  They recovered to briefly take the lead late in the second quarter and trailed by just one point at the half.  The Magic trailed just 73-71 early in the fourth before the Knicks took over and had as much as a 14 pt lead late in the game.

Some game notes:

  • This was the first win by the Knicks against a team currently over .500 since February 19th at Washington.  This was their first home win against a team currently over .500 since way back on January 25th against Philadelphia.
  • Turkoglu and Lewis combined to shoot a miserable 2 of 16 from 3 point range; as a team, the Magic were just 9 of 36 from long range.
  • The Magic bench combined to score just 14 points on 5 of 17 shooting.
  • After an outstanding game Saturday, Pat Garrity went back to being his usual self scoring just 4 points on 2 of 8 shooting against the Knicks.
  • In his last six games, Keith Bogans is averaging just 5.2 points on 11 of 38 from the field (28.9%), including 6 of 28 (21.4%) on threes and 3 of 9 on free throws.
  • In Howard's last eight games, he is averaging just 13.8 points.

The Magic can't afford any more losses like this one if they hope for a long playoff run.  After an off day Monday, the Magic will host another struggling team in the Bulls Tuesday.