Knicks @ Magic – Amway Center
When: Tuesday | 7:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: The NBA’s only undefeated team earned a day off after Saturday’s practice before returning to MSG Training Center on Monday. A light schedule of games has allowed some of the Knicks veterans to recover and gain conditioning. At 4-0, New York will now enter a major stretch of games with four contests in six nights, including three straight on the road starting Tuesday night in Orlando. While Amar’e Stoudemire (knee) and Iman Shumpert (knee) continue to rehab, New York is healthy heading into a matchup against the 2-4 Magic.
Orlando: The 2012-13 season signifies a new start for the Magic franchise as it moves on from the drama created from last year’s Dwight Howard indecision and the dismissal of Stan Van Gundy. Rookie head coach Jacque Vaughn is now the man in charge of a reconstructed team that will rely heavily on Big Baby Davis and newcomer Arron Afflalo. Orlando’s start to the year was impressive with two straight wins over Denver and Phoenix. However, the Magic have lost four straight contests and only scored 68 and 74 points in games against the Nets. Jameer Nelson was sidelined in the loss to Brooklyn on Monday night and he is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game.
Last Time Out
New York: In their third straight victory to open the season, the Knicks cruised past Philadelphia 110-88 on Monday night. Carmelo finished with 21 points and J.R. Smith jumped off the bench to post 17.
Orlando: Afflalo and Davis combined for 38 points but the Magic could not muster enough offensive in a 82-74 road defeat to Brooklyn.
The Numbers Game
The Knicks defense has received rave reviews, which is deserved considering they rank No. 1 in the NBA in points allowed per game. New York’s offense has been potent as well, averaging 104.5 points per game, good for second in the NBA. Conversely, the Magic rank No. 30 in the league, only averaging 87.8 points per game.
Match-up to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. Glen Davis
It will be interesting to see if head coach Mike Woodson sticks with the small-ball lineup that has fueled the Knicks 4-0 start. Orlando features Davis as the go-to scorer in the post but the power forward owns a perimeter game despite his massive frame. Davis is averaging 16.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season. On the opposite side, Anthony is one of the top performers in the NBA this year. He is averaging a league best 27.3 points per game to go along with 7.3 boards each outing. For Orlando, the matchup is more of a concern – Davis will not be able to check Anthony on the perimeter and he will get the big man in early trouble if he decides to work off the dribble.
What to Look For
As mentioned above, the Magic are struggling to score and meeting an elite defensive team will not help their cause on Tuesday night. The Knicks have not allowed an opposing team to reach the century mark this season and Orlando has failed to score 100 points in its current four-game losing skid. If New York can limit the impact of Davis and Afflalo, the superior offensive and defensive squad should start the three-game road trip with a victory and remain undefeated this season.