The New York Knicks got out on a run early in this one, firing to a 11-5 lead early in the first quarter against the Magic. Carmelo Anthony and company looked solid at a defensive standpoint out of the gate, but hitting the back iron play after play ultimately downgraded their confidence and cohesiveness and hampered their defensive intensity down the stretch as a whole.
The Knicks missed key shots down the stretch, ultimately finishing with a scrappy shooting clip of 37.3% in the contest. The Orlando Magic, on the other hand, played an offensive gem as Scott Skiles decided to make a tough decision and have Victor Oladipo come off the bench, looking for defensive intensity and an offensive punch outside of the starting 5.
Since being drafted, Oladipo started every game he has played in, but came into this matchup in an offensive slump averaging just 12.8 points per contest, another possible reasoning for his new role to lead the second-unit offense. Oladipo led the Magic stride into a win to snap the losing streak they faced, finishing with a Magic-leading 24 points and 15 free-throw attempts, before the game he failed to attempt more than 4 on the season.
The rest of the ball club for the Magic looked prolific, with three players earning double-doubles in the matchup. Nikola Vucevic completed the night with a solid 22 points on an efficient 10-19 shots attempted, and threw in an forceful 8 offensive rebounds, snagging 12 in total. Tobias Harris and Elfrid Payton also finished with double digits in two categories, Payton orchestrated the Magic for success, dishing 11 assists on the night.
The Knickerbocker starters provided relief whenever they stepped on the court once again, providing 79 of the Knicks total 91 points, tossing the rock at a 44% scoring rate, while their bench players highlighted by Langston Galloway, Derrick Williams (who did not even play in the competition, coach's decision), and Lance Thomas hit just 3 field goals out of 20 shot, which totals a disgusting 15% from the field.
This performance is unacceptable for a bench that needs to emphasize defense and produce at the very least a mediocre offense when the committee of Anthony and Jose Calderon are taking a breather.
Kristaps Porzingis struggled from the field with just 10 points on 13 attempts, but Porzingis has showed versatility in his game. When struggling in one facet, KP6 tries to excel in another, hosting a block party on Wednesday night with 6 of the teams 10 before the final buzzer.
As Knicks head coach Derek Fisher continues to find the balance in substitutions to help bring more wins to the Garden, the Magic may have just found their own recipe of success with Oladipo providing a lightning strike of competitiveness off the bench.
New York will attempt to end their losing streak with a 4-game homestand going forward, beginning by hosting the Miami Heat (9-5) at the icy Madison Square Garden on Friday night. The Orlando Magic will try and force back-to-back wins Friday afternoon against Greg Monroe and the Milwaukee Bucks (6-9) at home.