Playing in their final game before the week-long All-Star break, the Orlando Magic looked to end a two game slide, as the New York Knicks made a stop at the Amway Center. Even though it was sloppy throughout the night, the Magic were able to pull out the victory late, winning 89-83.
Early on, it seemed as though both team's were throwing pebbles into an ocean, as every shot they took fell. However, quickly it began to even out, with sloppy play ensuing from both teams. While both teams took care of the ball, shots began to not fall, with the offense appearing forced at times. The Magic didn't move the ball well, notching only two assists on eight field goals, but were able to get to the line consistently, knocking down 9-of-11 from the charity stripe in the quarter. Jason Smith, who scored a season high 19 points against the Magic last month, scored 11 in the quarter for the Knicks, with Victor Oladipo leading the Magic with eight in the opening 12 minutes.
After a blazing start offensively from both sides, the tables continued to turn, with more sloppy play early in the second quarter. The Magic's offense continued to be stagnant, with the ball not moving on many possessions, and players settling for one-on-one opportunities. By doing so, the team turned it over nine times in the quarter, however, the Knicks were only able to turn those turnovers into two points. Coming off the bench early in the quarter, Dewayne Dedmon gave the Magic a much needed boost on the defensive end, blocking four shots and diving on the court for loose balls. Smith's season-high 21 led the way for the Knicks, with Nikola Vucevic notching his 32nd double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds at the half.
Out of the halftime break, both teams continued to struggle on the offensive end of the floor. The Knicks struggled to get anything going, shooting a woeful 4-of-18 in the quarter, coupled with four turnovers. The Magic fared only slightly better, going 8-of-20 from the field, however, they were able to move the ball better, notching five assists on their eight makes. Vucevic continued his strong night, jumping up to 20 points and 16 rebounds after three quarters. Smith didn't make a shot, but bumped his total up to 22, tying the second most points he's ever scored in a game.
Up just four heading into the final quarter, the Magic needed to find that last bit of energy to grind out another win. Even thought they had periods where the offense struggled, the Magic were able to find a way to grind out the victory, thanks in large part to the Knicks' inability to consistently get stops and score for themselves.
Vucevic led the way for the Magic, finishing with 28 points and 18 rebounds. After a strong start, Oladipo struggled from the floor before finishing the night with 19. Willie Green added 13 off the bench, while rookie Elfrid Payton scored a big 12 points.
Smith fell just shy of his career high, finishing the night with 25. Andrea Bargnani, playing in just his fourth game of the season, finished with 11 points off the bench. Tim Hardaway Jr rounded out the Knicks in double figures, finishing with 10.