Last season, the Orlando Magic’s first win of the season came in Madison Square Garden.
History had a chance to repeat itself Monday as the 0-3 Magic came to New York in search of a victory. It didn’t happen, as the Knicks topped the Magic, 115-102, despite another 20-plus point performance by Paolo Banchero and a career-night by Bol Bol.
Banchero got off to a fast start, scoring six of Orlando’s first 10 points, highlighted by throwing down an alley-top in transition from Cole Anthony.
Banchero and Cole Anthony each finished with eight points in the quarter but the team struggled from deep, going 1-for-9 in the first. That included Chuma Okeke missing all three of his attempts and Mo Bamba missing both of his.
The Magic also struggled on the glass, allowing the Knicks six offensive rebounds in the first for 11 second-chance points that helped New York open an eight-point advantage. Orlando went without a field goal for the final four-plus minutes of the quarter until Caleb Houstan scored his first career points by hitting a jumper with 3.8 seconds left to cut the deficit to 34-28.
Houstan then opened the second with his first career three and Banchero followed with a drive to pull the Magic within one. Then the Bol Bol show began as he matched his career-high in the 10-plus second-quarter minutes. He scored 11 points in the quarter by scoring in a variety of ways, from coast-to-coast-drives to threes (banked in) to put-back dunks.
bol bol with the euro— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) October 25, 2022
bol bol with the swat pic.twitter.com/KVqeNh9HtP
But the Magic trailed 65-59 at the half after shooting 44.7 percent and making just 4 of 20 attempts from three. The Knicks didn't fare much better from deep, going 5 of 18. Orlando did a solid job of getting to the line, making 13 of 15 attempts. That was led by Banchero, who had 16 points in 17 first-half minutes, going 5-for-9 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line.
A three by Wendell Carter Jr. and drive by Anthony capped an 8-0 Magic run that evened the score at 67-67 early in the third. The threes continued to fall as Terrence Ross and Carter connected to put the Magic back in front at 73-71 with 7:32 left.
The Magic again went four-plus minutes without a field goal and the Knicks closed that stretch with an 11-2 run to open an 87-76 lead. The lead grew to 14 when a Bamba turnover led to a pretty fast break by the Knicks that ended with an Obi Toppin behind the back pass to R.J. Barrett for the one-handed slam and a 94-80 advantage.
The Magic pulled within single digits after Banchero grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for the lay-in to make it 99-90 with 8:15 remaining in the fourth. With that bucket, Banchero became just the third No. 1 pick in NBA history to score 20-plus points in each of his first four games, joining Elvin Hayes and Oscar Robertson.
A pair of free throws by Bol and a put-back dunk by Carter Jr. brought the Magic within six at 104-98 with 4:25 to go. But Jalen Brunson followed with a step-back jumper plus the foul to put the Knicks back up by nine, and the Magic would not get any closer.
Julius Randle had 25 points and 12 rebounds, Brunson had 21 points and six assists, and Barrett had 20 points and six rebounds. The Knicks grabbed 18 offensive rebounds for 27 second-chance points in the win. Though, the Magic produced 24 second-chance points of their own.
Banchero finished with 21 points on 6-for-13 shooting (0 of 3 from deep) and 9-for-11 from the line.
Bol, who played his way into some crunch-time minutes in a lineup where Wagner ran the point, had a career-high 19 points in 20 minutes, going 8-for-10 from the field while also grabbing five rebounds and blocking four shots.
Carter Jr. had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Franz Wager added 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Anthony had 14 points but struggled from the field, going 6-for-18 and missing all five of his attempts for deep.
The Magic combined to go 7-for-35 from three while shooting 41.9 percent in the game.
They fall to 0-4 and face another tough match-up on Wednesday when they head to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers.