After back-to-back ugly losses, the Orlando Magic shook things up in hopes of finding new life against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. Despite periods of sloppy, low energy play, the Magic were able to string together a strong performance, taking down the Knicks 100-91.
Despite the changes to their starting lineup, the Magic once again started slow, falling behind by six early. Shots continued to not fall, with the team struggling to put together back-to-back makes. For the quarter, the Magic shot a dreadful 24 percent, but were able to stabilize their offense by getting to the free throw line 10 times, knocking down eight of them. Despite their poor shooting, the Magic found themselves with a three point lead after 12 minutes.
Turning to his bench -- the unit that has gotten his team back into games of late -- Scott Skiles' bunch responded, starting the second quarter with good energy, jumping on the struggling Knicks early in the quarter. Behind an 8-0 run, the Magic pushed their lead to 11, thanks to a strong stretch for Victor Oladipo off the bench. As the quarter wore on, the Magic were able to hold off the Knicks, keeping them under 30 percent shooting for the half. With a 46-35 lead, the Magic were in good shape to turn things around.
Like clockwork, the Magic came out of halftime lifeless, allowing the Knicks to cut their lead down to four early in the quarter. However, once the bench, led by Oladipo, came in, the ship steadied for the Magic, with Oladipo seemingly taking the game over late in the quarter. The third-year man, coming off the bench for just the second time this season, attacked the Knicks defense, getting to the rim at will.
Up nine heading into the fourth, the Magic seemed poised to take home their seventh victory of the season. Throughout the quarter, the Magic appeared the better side, pushing their lead to a game high 13, behind continued strong play from Oladipo, as well as Nikola Vucevic. Ever time the Knicks tried to make a run, the Magic were able to shoot it down, not allowing the Knicks a chance to suck the energy out of the building.
Oladipo led Magic players, finishing with 24 points off the bench. Vucevic notched a double-double, finishing with 22 points and 12 rebounds, with Tobias Harris adding 17 points and 10 rebounds. Elfrid Payton quietly put together a strong game, finishing with 12 points, 11 assists and six rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers, finishing with 28 points and 13 rebounds. Jose Calderon knocked down four threes en route to 25, while former Magic man Arron Afflalo finishing with 10.