Half of the Orlando Magic’s wins this season have come at Madison Square Garden.
The Magic earned their second victory of the season on the New York Knicks’ homecourt on Wednesday in impressive fashion with a 104-98 win.
Multiple members of Orlando’s young core had their signature moment in the game, whether it was yet another highlight-reel dunk by Franz Wagner, a key block by Mo Bamba or a second-half that will hopefully serve as a confidence boost and turning point for Jalen Suggs.
Six players finished in double figures for the Magic, led by Terrence Ross, who had 19, and Wagner, who had 16. Cole Anthony struggled from the field (5-for-21, 1 of 9 from three) but flirted with a triple-double, tallying 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Bamba posted another double-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.
A 9-0 Orlando run in the third gave the Magic a 68-58 lead with 2:30 left in the quarter. That was when a Knicks team that until then had been 7-for-33 from three suddenly couldn’t miss from deep, closing the quarter with three triples to pull within five heading to the fourth.
Jalen Suggs, who returned after missing one game with a sprained ankle, had perhaps his best half of the season, helping the Magic re-establish a nine-point lead. He found Chuma Okeke for a three early in the fourth, then stole the ball from Derrick Rose and cruised in for a two-handed slam, then connected on a three to give the Magic an 80-71 lead with 10:14 remaining.
The Knicks continued draining threes, with Obi Toppin and Alec Burks each hitting a pair, as New York hit 9 of 11 attempts from three over one stretch to take a 92-86 lead with 5:45 left.
With the Knicks having found their rythym and the Magic having essentially surrendered two double-digit leads, it seemed Orlando’s string of success at the Garden was over.
But the kids continued to play, with Suggs hitting another three to pull the Magic within one. Bamba later emphatically blocked Burks’ layup, ultimately leading to Ross picking off a pass and coasting down court for a one-handed dunk that put the Magic back on top at 95-94 with under three minutes to go.
After R.J. Barrett’s layup gave the Knicks the lead, Wagner drove the lane and threw it down plus the foul for a three-point play and 98-96 Orlando lead.
The win was sealed when Anthony banked in a runner and Suggs stole a pass and found Wendell Carter Jr. for the alley opp.
Suggs, who was scoreless in the first half on 0-for-5 shooting, finished with 13 points. In the second half, he went 5-for-7 from the field, making all three of his attempts from deep, and also added four assists, three steals and a block. It was an encouraging performance that hopefully leads to bigger and better things for the struggling rookie. And his excitement got the better of him during his postgame interview...
“Mo Wagner came up to me… and said, excuse my language, you’re a bad motherfucker.” -@jalensuggs— David Baumann (@DavidBaumannORL) November 18, 2021
As Magic postgame interviews become more and more MUST WATCH TV @BallyMagic @OrlandoMagic pic.twitter.com/fMKqWM8Ux5
The Magic overall shot just 40.6 percent, going 11 of 38 from three, and had 12 turnovers. But their zone defense was effective against the Knicks, who were held to 42 percent shooting (16 of 49 from three) and committed 18 turnovers.
As Anthony tweeted after the game...
Ain’t pretty but a dub a dub — Cole Anthony (@The_ColeAnthony) November 18, 2021
The Magic will look to get another dub in New York when their five-game road trip continues on Friday against the Brooklyn Nets.