KNICKS 99 MAGIC 89 | AMWAY CENTER
How it happened:
Facing a one-point deficit in the early stages of the fourth quarter, the veteran Jason Kidd jumpstarted a major run to help the Knicks escape Orlando with a 99-89 victory on Tuesday night.
Tyson Chandler used a high screen and Kidd buried a 3-pointer at the 8:34 mark of the final stanza to shift the momentum back to New York as it grabbed an 82-80 lead. Kidd then forced a jump ball, won the tip, and eventually sunk a left-handed floater in the lane to increase the road team’s advantage to four points.
As part of a big second half, J.R. Smith used his signature step-back jumper to push the Knicks on top 86-80. Carmelo Anthony scored five straight points, Raymond Felton hit Chandler for a crushing two-handed alley-oop dunk, and New York put together a game-changing 14-4 run over 7 minutes in the middle of the fourth quarter.
The Knicks were absolutely suffocating in the final stage of the road act. Outscoring the Magic 22-13 in the fourth quarter was just another glaring example of how New York has catapulted to a 5-0 start to the season. The Knicks defense forced 20 turnovers, held Orlando below 100 points, and under 50 percent shooting.
Felton and Smith were key contributors in the third quarter by combining for 22 points. When the Magic built a seven-point lead early in the period, Smith knocked down a ridiculous fadeaway jumper while helping New York jump right back into the contest on a 7-0 run.
Anthony was spectacular once again with 25 points to lead all scorers. Felton finished with 21, and Smith scored 21 off the bench.
Anthony posted the highest total in the scoring column but Smith earned top honors on Tuesday night. The shooting guard provided the spark at all the crucial moments. Smith connected on both of his 3-point attempts, registered 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor, grabbed four boards, and dished out three assists.
The game featured 19 lead changes and was tied 17 times but the Knicks ended with a the biggest lead, 13 and the 10-point victory.
Directly after the contest on Tuesday night, the Knicks boarded a plane for San Antonio. The squad will practice on Wednesday before facing the Spurs in a highly anticipated Thursday night matchup.