The New York Knicks used a huge third quarter to run away from the Orlando Magic Sunday inside the Amway Center. New York began the second half on a 37-13 run, coasting the rest of the way as they defeated Orlando 118-88.
R.J. Barrett led the way for the Knicks, scoring 27 points, dishing out 6 assists, and grabbing 5 rebounds. Reserve guard Immanuel Quickley recorded his first career triple-double, scoring 20 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and distributing 10 assists.
Second-year forward Obi Toppin (+46 in 35 minutes) added a career-high 20 points (4-10 3PTA’s) and 8 rebounds.
New York, who ranks last in the NBA in paint scoring, enjoyed a 50-28 advantage Sunday from points scored in the paint.
“Our guys are going to continue to do what they need to do to get better every single day,” Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley told reporters after the game. “We’ll look at it. We’ll go back and help these guys understand what it takes to continue to grow.”
The game couldn’t have started uglier for the the home team. Coach Mosley burned a very quick timeout following Orlando’s first defensive possession, clearly frustrated that a defender went under a screen and left Barrett wide-open for a three-point field goal from the top of the key.
The Magic missed their first five attempts from the field, and then things got even worse. Cole Anthony, who carried a ‘questionable’ tag coming into Sunday’s game, exited the game just 2:38 into the contest with a sprained left big toe.
“It changes things, it definitely changes things,” Mosley said after the game when asked about how difficult things got for his team once Anthony exited. “We always talk about ‘next man up’, and guys having the opportunity to step in and play those minutes. But obviously, not having those three or four starters is tough in these situations.”
The Magic were already playing without Franz Wagner (who missed his first career game Sunday, ankle), Wendell Carter Jr. (wrist), and Jalen Suggs (ankle).
Orlando missed 15 of their first 20 field goal attempts, allowing the Knicks to build an early first quarter lead.
Both teams combined to shoot just 17 for 51 (33 percent) in the opening quarter.
Mosley’s second unit helped stabilize things in the second quarter, getting strong play from Markelle Fultz and Moritz Wagner in particular.
Fultz dished out 4 of his 6 assists in the first half, while Wagner scored 13 of his 18 points before the break.
“You do appreciate that energy and effort from him,” Mosely said of Wagner. “That’s what we’re asking of all of our guys. That no matter what’s going on in the game, that you play with a level of intensity, you play with a level of effort, no matter what is happening - and that’s Mo on a nightly basis.”
Fultz, Wagner, Terrence Ross, and Robin Lopez combined to give Orlando a 33-19 first half bench scoring advantage over New York. But when the Magic starters came back into the game, the Knicks built back their double-digit lead heading into intermission.
The contest’s outcome became a foregone conclusion rather quickly coming out of the half. The Knicks scored 37 of the first 50 points scored in the third quarter.
“It was probably a combination of some things, I’ll have to go back and look at the film,” Mosley said after the game when asked about his team’s dreadful play in the third quarter. “There were some turnovers there, some offensive rebounds. Them getting out on the break, getting some easy baskets. But again, I’m going to go back and look at the film. We’ll have to analyze exactly where it was that we could have changed up some of that momentum that they had.”
New York’s lead stretched to as much as 35 points in the third. The Magic, who posted a meager 15 points in the period, were outscored by 22 points over twelve minutes in the third quarter.
Orlando had a miserable night shooting the basketball throughout the game Sunday, converting 35.3 percent of their field goal attempts, 27.3 percent of their three-point field goal attempts, and only 59.3 percent of their free throw attempts.
New York big man Mitchell Robinson (+24) was a force in the paint all game, scoring 12 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and blocking 5 shots.
Long-time Magic shooting guard Evan Fournier started for New York, but played only 15 minutes Sunday. He scored just 2 points (1 for 5 FGA’s).
The Magic were led by M. Wagner’s 18 points (7 for 10 FGA’s, 2 for 5 3PTA’s) and 9 rebounds off the bench. Mo Bamba recorded a double-double in 29 minutes, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Orlando closes their 2021-22 campaign out with three more games this upcoming week, two of those coming at home (and all against Eastern Conference Playoff qualifiers). The Magic will finish their season out against Miami at the Amway Center one week from today.