Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Orlando Magics vs. New York Knicks Post Game Recap March 28

Final Score: Orlando Magic 86 New York Knicks 108 

The Knicks have been great under Mike Woodson since he was named interim head coach, but nothing like tonight against a team in the Orlando Magic many consider an NBA title contender. The Knicks blew the Magic out of the water pushing their record under Woodson to 8-1 and also lengthening their lead over the Milwaukee Bucks for 8th place in the Eastern Conference to 2 ½ games. The Knicks also are over .500 now with a 26-25 record. What makes this win even more impressive is that they were able to do it without 2 of their starters in Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin and without defensive stalwart Jared Jeffries. 

-Defense, Defense, Defense 

After a first quarter in which the Knicks allowed the Magic to score 29 points, led by 11 from Jameer Nelson, the Knicks put the locks on the Magic. Throughout the last 3 quarters of the game, the Knicks held the Magic to only 57 points, going on a 21-0 run at one point during the 3rd quarter, a quarter in which the Knicks have struggled mightily in throughout the season. The Knicks were able to neutralize the Magic’s 3 point shooting, holding them to 9-26 (it would have been worse if not for a let down at the end of the 3rd quarter into the 4th when the Knicks had a 39 point lead.). Led by Tyson Chandler, the Knicks were also able to effectively shut down Dwight Howard, who was held to only 12 points and 5 rebounds. The rotations were on point, and the Knicks were able to hound the Magic all night leading to a huge victory. 

-Ball Control 

Entering the game tonight, the Knicks were averaging 20 turnovers a game in their last 3 contests. Tonight was a different story, as the Knicks only committed 10 turnovers and were able to dish out 24 assists. The ball movement was impeccable, precise and crisp, leading to numerous open jump shots for everyone on the team. Carmelo Anthony and Baron Davis led the team with 6 assists each. 

-Domination of the Paint 

Against the Orland Magic controlling the paint is no easy task with Dwight Howard around, but that is exactly what the Knicks were able to do tonight. The Knicks controlled the boards to the tune of a 49-34 out-rebounding performance. They also outscored the Magic in the paint 42-30, enabling them to control the game from all facets. 

-Picking up the Slack 

With so many injuries ravaging the team, the Knicks were looking for people to step up, and that is exactly what happened. Carmelo Anthony is going to be relied upon to handle a large portion of the offensive load without Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, and for a second straight game he did not disappoint. Anthony finished with a very efficient 25 points on 9-15 shooting, also adding in 6 assists and 5 rebounds. He seems to finally be finding his rhythm, something he had said he needed to do after the loss in Toronto last week. Anthony was scoring from all over the court, but did the most damage from the post. 

Anthony had help tonight in picking up the slack in the form of Iman Shumpert, who had a career high 25 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 4 assists, playing quite possibly his best game of his short lived NBA career. He brought the normal intense defense that he is known for as well as a great game on the offensive end. Shumpert has been working with Allan Houston on his jump shot coming off screens, and it is evident as he is showing much more confidence in his jumper, as he had another 4 3 pointers tonight against the Magic. 

-Fantastic Bench Play 

The bench once again was a strong point for the Knicks, led by Steve Novak and J.R. Smith. Novak had 16 points and added another 4 3 pointers to his season total, and Smith wasn’t far behind with 12 of his own. Josh Harrellson is still looking to get back to his shooting form, but played great defense against Dwight Howard and was able to corral 8 rebounds of his own. 

The next game for the Knicks is Friday, March 30th against the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta at 7:30 P.M. ET. It will be a homecoming for Mike Woodson, as he was the coach of the Hawks for 6 seasons. 

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