Evan Fournier felt right at home when his Knicks played in Orlando on Friday. No, literally.
It wasn’t only because of his familiarity with his surroundings. It was because the Knicks had a record-breaking performance, the young Magic fell behind early and comfortably, and the Orlando crowd broke into chants of “Let’s go Knicks!”
“I mean, my goodness,” Fournier told reporters after the Knicks’ 121-96 win over the Magic at Amway Center. “I’ve been in that building many, many times and I felt like I was at home tonight. That’s really what it felt like.”
Now the Magic head to the Knicks’ actual home, where a raucous crowd hopes to see the Knicks improve to 3-0 for the first time since the 2012-2013 season.
It’s a revenge game opportunity for the Magic, which fell behind early in their home opener and trailed by as many as 34. They allowed the Knicks to set a franchise record by making 24 three-pointers in the victory.
A whole lotta threes.— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) October 23, 2021
24 marks a new franchise record. pic.twitter.com/qAUFIW1H4E
“We got spread out too much tonight,” Jamahl Mosley told reporters after the game. “Again, I’m going to have to go back and look at the film and see where the details of it were, where we were getting stretched because they space the floor so well and we talked about the guys they have out there that are individually very talented. Early on, they were making that extra pass and they were knocking shots down.”
Knocking down shots was a struggle for the Magic for the second straight game, with the team shooting just 40.2 percent over two games while losing by a combined 51 points.
“We have to understand that the ball has energy,” Mosley said. “The ball moving, everybody being able to touch the basketball is very big for us. I think we attempted to make that happened and then when shots don’t fall it takes a little bit out of you. But we have to understand that we have to hang our hats on the defensive end and then getting out to run so that everybody feels a part.”
Playing a home-and-home against the Knicks will be an early-season gauge for Mosley and the coaching staff in regard to the adjustments made between games in hopes of keeping the Magic more competitive.
But for a rebuilding and shorthanded Magic team (Gary Harris is questionable, the others remain out), one of the themes of the season will be to play as if the scoreboard is turned off. Mosley wants the team to focus on playing their brand of basketball and recognize the teachable moments regardless of the score, highlighting Wendell Carter Jr. diving to the floor for a loose ball late in Friday’s lopsided game.
“Well, we’re gonna continue to develop,” Mosley said whne asked of playing from behind early in games. “We’re gonna continue to get these guys better. I think we talk about the process of things and getting guys better every single day, and these are the experiences that young guys have to go through in talking about being in the NBA. This is a very good Knicks basketball team, a very tough, physical basketball team. As the young guys go, no matter what the score is, they have to understand how we need to play versus what the score is.”
Who: Orlando Magic (0-2) at New York Knicks (2-0)
When: Sunday at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden - New York, New York
TV: Bally Sports Florida
Line: Knicks -12, Over/Under 214.5