KNICKS 108 MAGIC 86 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
Orlando jumped out to an early 12-5 lead and even led 29-25 at the end of the first quarter. That’s about as good as it was going to get for the visiting Magic on Wednesday night.
The Knicks tightened the screws in the second period and held Orlando to only 12 points while posting 57 and grabbing a 14-point lead heading into the locker room. Steve Novak drilled a 25-footer at second quarter buzzer, effectively signaling to the Madison Square Garden crowd that New York was on a mission to even the season series.
From the 9:21 mark of the third quarter until 2:44, the Knicks exploded on a 21-0 run to bury the Magic. As Jeremy Lin watched from the sidelines and Amar’e Stoudemire missed the contest with a bulging disk, rookie Iman Shumpert and Steve Novak filled the scoring void. Shumpert scored 10 of his career-high 25 points in the third period and Novak connected on 4-of-8 shots from the 3-point arc for 16 points on the night.
For the second straight game, Tyson Chandler was able to frustrate All-Star center Dwight Howard. Chandler limited the Magic’s big man to only 12 points and remarkably, just five rebounds.
Orlando sharpshooter Ryan Anderson was held in check after he sunk seven 3-pointers in the first meeting against New York. Anderson played 15 minutes and finished with three points on 1-for-4 shooting from the floor.
The Knicks outscored the Magic 42-30 in the paint, 16-2 on the fast break, and 21-6 in second chance opportunities. Improving to 26-25 on the season, New York also dominated the glass 49-34 and the squad shot 50.6 percent from the floor. Under interim head coach Mike Woodson, the Knicks are now 8-1 and continue to build a cushion in the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
“I thought it was great. I thought the way we came out and played…we played with great aggression. The defense led the way.” – Tyson Chandler
Anthony caught fire in the third quarter with 12 of his 25 points. Despite a strained groin muscle, Anthony managed to shoot 9-of-15 from the field, hit two long bombs, dish out six assists, and grab five boards.
Shumpert deserves a ton of credit in a starting role for the Knicks on Wednesday night. The versatile guard / forward showed his shooting range with four 3-pointers and he also defended multiple positions in the win. His contributions helped ease the loss of Lin in the backcourt while helping New York flourish in utilizing the small-ball lineup.
New York’s 21-0 run in the third quarter tied the fourth longest consecutive point streak in the franchise’s history and is the longest consecutive streak since November 15, 2003 against Indiana.
The Knicks will have the day off on Thursday but will travel to Atlanta in preparation for another important Eastern Conference showdown against the Hawks.