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Magic 97, Knicks 73: Artis, Hezonja, defense guide Orlando to victory

Jamel Artis had a career-night to help the Magic snap a three-game losing streak

NBA: Orlando Magic at New York Knicks Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps it wasn’t exactly Reggie Miller scoring eight points in nine seconds, or Michael Jordan dropping 55 points, but Jamel Artis had himself quite a performance in the World’s Most Famous Arena.

Facing the the team that waived him, the rookie shooting guard surpassed his career-high in the second quarter and finished with 16 points as the Magic defeated the Knicks 97-73 at Madison Square Garden to snap a three-game losing streak.

Artis, whose previous career high of eight points was set on Friday against the Bulls, hit three three-pointers in 32 minutes, including a triple with 26.5 remaining in the third to give the Magic a 68-61 lead.

The Magic defense made the lead stand as the shorthanded (and tanking) Knicks were limited to just 28 points in the second half en route to matching a season-low total of 73 points. For the Magic, it was their first victory of the season without scoring at least 100 points.

Mario Hezonja came alive in the fourth, scoring 11 of his game-high 19 points, including three of his five three-point makes.

Nikola Vucevic had 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting and 10 rebounds. Khem Birch, who saw extensive minutes at center, also had 11 points and 10 rebounds, and added three blocks. Shelvin Mack tallied 12 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Aaron Gordon struggled mightily with his shot (and shot selection), going 3-for-15 from the field for seven points. Gordon went 0-for-8 from three on a night when the Magic set a new franchise record for most three-pointers attempted in a season, breaking the previous record of 2,241 set in 2009-2010.

Frank Vogel promised to modernize the Magic’s offense and the record breaking three-point shooting is certainly an indication of that, though its a lot easier to take them than it is to make them.

The Magic connected on 11 threes against the Knicks but attempted 36 for a 30.6 percentage. The Knicks, however, converted on just 4 of 27 attempts from long range, helping the Magic cruise to victory and win the season series, 3-1.

While some fans may not be thrilled with the Magic winning at this stage of the season, there were some positives to take away from the victory after two very ugly losses. The Magic conclude their stretch of six games against bottom-10 teams on Wednesday when they host the Dallas Mavericks.