Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Knicks Pull Away Late, Improve to 5-0

The Knicks came into tonight's game against the Orlando Magic riding a 4-0 record to start their season, All four wins came against playoff teams from the previous year, so what could we expect from the Knickerbockers against the young Orlando Magic who have lost four straight?

The Knicks and Magic were neck and neck through the first three quarters of play before New York over powered the Magic and pulled out a 99-89 victory in Orlando on Tuesday night. 

Carmelo Anthony, who led all scorers with 25 points, and the Knicks could not shake the Orlando Magic early in the contest, and had to grind out the victory in the fourth quarter to keep the Knicks unbeaten this season. 

It wasn't a pretty first half for the Knicks who found themselves trailing in the first quarter, but they found a way back and eventually took the lead from the Magic late in the first. It continued to be a game of runs for the Magic who's late run in the second quarter gave them a 53-49 halftime lead. 

The Knicks J.R Smith sparked the Knicks offense with 13 points in the third quarter, and Raymond Felton hit timely shots to keep the Knicks right with Orlando. The Knicks would finish the third quarter on an eleven to seven run and take a 77-76 lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

In the fourth, the Magic offense went ice cold, shooting 5 for 16 from the field and scoring just 13 points for the quarter. The Knicks continued to get timely shooting from J.R Smith, who finished the game with 21 points, and Raymond Felton who also finished with 21 points. Tyson Chandler added 12 points and 6 rebounds for the Knicks.

J.J Redick was the high scorer for the Magic with 18 points, shooting 7-13 from the field. Redick also added seven assists and four rebounds to his solid scoring night. 

The Knicks struggled on the boards against the Magic, getting out rebounded by Orlando 42-31, but they made up for the lack of rebounding by taking care of the ball. The Knicks turned the ball over just 9 times tonight, and forced 20 Magic turnovers that led to 24 Knick points. 

The Knicks are now 5-0 with all five wins coming by ten points or better. The Knicks will continue their short road trip with contests against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night, and the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night, two more playoff teams from the previous season. 

What to Watch For: New York Knicks vs. Orlando Magic November 13


Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Pre-Game News and Notes
New York Knicks vs. Orlando Magic

The Knicks will look to move to 5-0 for the third time in franchise history Tuesday night against the Magic.  Good things happen when the Knicks start seasons this strong, as in 1993-1994 they lost in the NBA Finals and in 1969-1970 they won the NBA Championship.  Tonight is the start of four games in six nights, the first three of which are on the road.  Here are some things to keep an eye on for the game tonight

-Keep up Defensive Pressure

The Magic’s offense thus far this season has been offensive.  They are averaging just 87.8 points per game, lowest in the NBA.  It has been even uglier for the Magic in their last four games, all losses, averaging only 77.5 points per game in that span. 

This is something that should continue, as the Knicks are the top team in defensive efficiency currently in the NBA.  The Knicks are playing suffocating defense, holding opponents to a lowly 40.7 percent shooting from the field.  This one has ugly spelled all over it if you are not a Knicks fan.

-Match-ups Against Carmelo Anthony

Early reports are that the Magic will start with Arron Afflalo getting the assignment of guarding Carmelo Anthony, who is leading the NBA with 27.3 points per game.  It will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on throughout the night as Afflalo is a good defender but does not have the size to match-up with players like Anthony; he is more suited guarding shooting and point guards.

If Anthony takes Afflalo to the paint like he should, it will be interesting to see who the Magic turn to.  Power forward Glen Davis does not have the lateral quickness or speed to keep up with Anthony on the perimeter.  In the post, Davis could pose a problem for Anthony but Mike Woodson will definitely put Anthony in position to take advantage of whoever guards him. 

Where the Magic can attack Anthony is on the defensive end, as he has expended much more energy there compared to past seasons.  Because of that extra effort, forcing Anthony to guard someone like Davis would take a toll and theoretically make Anthony less effective on the offensive end of the court because of his energy level being lowered.

-Bench Play

The Knicks bench will play a pivotal role in the game tonight and should be a strength going forward.  The bench for the Knicks is far superior to the one the Magic will use and the Knicks need to take advantage.

J.R. Smith has been playing some of the best basketball of his career and has been a consistent second scoring option behind Anthony for the Knicks with Amar’e Stoudemire.  Smith has helped out on the defensive end and on the boards also, doing everything the Knicks wanted from him and more. 

-Avoid a letdown

This is a quintessential trap game for the Knicks, as the Magic are an opponent that will be looked over by plenty of opponents this season.  With big games against the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies Thursday and Friday it is not uncommon for players to look past tonight’s game and to the future ones instead. 

This is where the presence of veterans like Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace come in handy.  They know the ropes of the NBA game and will have to keep everyone focused on the task at hand.  This is a game the Knicks should win by double-digits easily and command right from the opening tip.