Knicks vs. Magic Gameday

Scouting Report

Jonah Ballow


Knicks vs. Magic7:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM

The Knicks announced on Wednesday morning, "Amar'e Stoudemire will return to New York from Miami today after seeking a second opinion on a bulging disc of his lower back. Both doctors have agreed that he should undergo non-surgical treatment and rehabilitation, that will include an epidural. He is expected to be out for approximately 2-4 weeks."

Jeremy Lin is out for tonight's contest as well with a sore knee.  The point guard will miss his second straight game and Baron Davis will most likely start.

Big Picture
New York: The roller coaster season for the Knicks took another sharp turn on Monday when the team discovered the latest setback to Stoudemire and Lin. After suffering from back tightness in the win over Detroit on Saturday, Stoudemire underwent an MRI that revealed a bulging disk in his back. The injury places Stoudemire out of the lineup 2-4 weeks.  Meanwhile, New York is in the midst of a narrow race for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference as the squad searches for a playoff berth. The Knicks own a two-game lead on the Bucks, trail Boston by 2.5 games for No. 7, and face a three-game deficit for the Atlantic Division crown. By winning its last seven of eight games, New York is back to .500 with a 25-25 record and will play three games in the next four days.

Orlando: After vacillating for a couple of days, Dwight Howard waived his ETO and committed to the Magic for at least one more season. The drama ends in Orlando until 2013 as the team chases a title in 2012 with the third best record in the Eastern Conference behind Miami and Chicago. All the Howard trade talk seemed to mask the successful season for the Magic. The squad owns a 32-18 overall record and they have won eight of their last 11 games heading into the second matchup of the year against New York. The Magic face a life away from Amway Center to conclude this year’s campaign with nine of their final 16 games on the road.

Last Time Out
New York: Capturing their seventh win in their last eight games, the Knicks topped Milwaukee 89-80 on Monday night at MSG.

Orlando: On Monday night, the Magic cruised in a 117-101 victory over the Raptors in Toronto.

The Numbers Game
The Knicks defense has been stifling over the last eight games. Against Milwaukee on Monday, New York held the Bucks to just 28 points in the second after they scored 52 in the first.

Match-up to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. Ryan Anderson

In the first meeting, Ryan Anderson dropped 30 points and grabbed seven boards in 35 minutes of action. Orlando’s power forward turned in a remarkable shooting display on the Madison Square Garden floor by drilling 11-of-19 shots from the floor and an impressive 7-of-13 beyond the arc. Anderson averages 18.2 points per game in the Magic victories this year and he earned a spot in the 3-point contest at All-Star Weekend in February. He is a unique talent with height and a deadly stroke from downtown, hitting 41.6 percent for the season. Anthony scored 33 points on Orlando in the defeat on January 16. With the injury to Stoudemire, the Knicks will rely heavily on Anthony’s offensive production as seen in his 28-point performance on Monday night. However, New York also needs Anthony to challenge Anderson at the 3-point line and force him into difficult shots from mid-range.

What to Look For
While Anderson is highlighted in the Match-up to Watch section, Howard is still a major concern for the Knicks. He struggled in the first matchup with only eight points and 10 rebounds, not to mention a poor 2-for-9 outing at the charity stripe. The big man also fouled out of the game and committed turnovers in 38 minutes. Tyson Chandler will have the challenge of fighting Howard on the glass as New York is without key frontline players Stoudemire and Jeffries.

The Knicks improved defense will face a difficult test in limiting Orlando‘s relentless attack from the 3-point line. The Magic rank No. 3 in the league in 3-point percentage at 38.4 and they shot 48.6 percent from the arc against the New York in mid January. The Knicks will have to chase Orlando’s shooters off the line and avoid sinking deep into the lane to double Howard.

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