|2008/2009 NBA Regular Season|
|March 23rd, 2009|
|Madison Square Garden|
|Rafer Alston||PG||Chris Duhon|
|Courtney Lee||SG||Wilson Chandler|
|Hedo Turkoglu||SF||Quentin Richardson|
|Rashard Lewis||PF||David Lee|
|Dwight Howard||C||Al Harrington|
|February 25th: Magic 115, Knicks 109|
|March 21st: Magic 110, Knicks 103|
The Orlando Magic and the New York Knicks will meet again tonight in New York, just two nights after the Magic dealt the Knicks a loss which all but completely eliminated them from playoff contention. New York was without David Lee, its leading rebounder and arguably best player, in that matchup, but he figures to be healthy enough to play tonight. Meanwhile, Knicks starting shooting guard Larry Hughes left the game with a toe injury and may not play tonight. Losing Hughes, their least-productive player, and adding Lee might be the difference the Knicks need to put them over the top against Orlando. They've given the Magic fits in both meetings this year, and something tells me the Knicks might manage to win this one if they catch the Magic looking ahead to Wednesday's high-profile showdown with the Boston Celtics.
Orlando's gameplan, as always, should be to get Dwight Howard the ball early in each possession. Even if he doesn't wind up shooting, his having the ball down-low forces defenses to adjust. The three-point shooting of Rashard Lewis and Courtney Lee should stretch the floor well enough to create driving lanes for Rafer Alston and Hedo Turkoglu, who should look to attack the Knicks' weak interior defense at every opportunity.
On the defensive end, the Magic can't afford to let any of the Knicks' shooters get into a groove. That's precisely what happened Saturday night, when Quentin Richardson went berserk for 33 points. They also need to make a concerted effort to box out. The Knicks are a poor rebounding team as it is, and without David Lee, they should not have been able to dominate on the glass as they did two nights ago. In a general sense, Orlando needs to play harder.
Tonight may be an emotional game for Magic assistant coach and former Knick Patrick Ewing, whom New York will honor at halftime as its best player of the 1990s.
Tip's at 7:30. Go Magic.