The Knicks battled back from a 19-point deficit in the 2nd quarter with a 25-6 run in the 3rd to tie the game — but the Orlando Magic hit 7 of 8 three-point shots in the 4th quarter to take the game, 111-106.
In Orlando on a Wednesday night — the Knicks’ home away from home, as they were cheered loudly all evening — Knick fans drowning out Orlando fans.
Orlando came in at only 30-43 on the year but has been playing much better ball in the 2nd half of the season after early season injuries — and in the last week beat Miami, Washington, and the LA Clippers (in LA), and suffered close losses in Phoenix and in LA to the Lakers.
It was also the Knicks’ 2nd game in two nights — having lost a tough one to Miami the night before. And NY was without Jalen Brunson — out with a wrist sprain.
“Third quarter we played well to get out of the hole,” said coach Tom Thibodeau. “Start of the 4th we played poorly. Start of the second we played poorly.’
About Orlando’s 3-pt shooting, Thibs said: “You know if someone hits a 3, you got to close. You got to close hard. You got to run them off the line. Sometimes they can make and you can be there. We’ll take a look at it (the film).”
NY falls to 42-33 — 1.5 games ahead of Miami and 2 games ahead of Brooklyn for 5th place.
1. Orlando Rained 3’s in the 4th
The Knicks allowed 36 points in the 4th quarter — they just could NOT STOP Orlando from hitting 3’s. NY was down 2 when:
- Cole Anthony hit a 3 with 10:41 left to give Orlando an 80-75 lead. NY pulled back within 2 but
- Caleb Houstan hit a 3 with 9:58 left to give Orlando a 83-78 lead. NY pulled back within 3 but
- Wendell Carter Jr. hit a 3 with 5:39 left to give Orlando a 93-87 lead. NY pulled back within 2 but
- Gary Harris hit a 3 with 3:51 left to give Orlando a 96-91 lead. NY was still down 5 when
- Wendell Carter Jr. hit a 3 with 2:36 left to give Orlando a 101-93 lead. NY pulled back within 4 but
- Paolo Banchero hit a 3 with 1:26 left to give Orlando a 104-97 lead, and
- Cole Anthony hit a 3 with 1:01 left to give Orlando a 107-99 lead.
In between all that, Franz Wagner and brother Moritz Wagner were getting conventional 2-pt buckets.
2. Barrett Stunk
The worst part about the loss for NY was the poor play of RJ Barrett — just coming off a great game the night before when he led the Knicks with 26 points on efficient shooting.
In this one, Barrett did not lead the team when he was in at start of the 4th quarter — instead missing a shot, committing a foul, and turning the ball over — as NY allowed Orlando to jump out to a 90-82 lead.
On the night, Barrett shot 3-12 from the floor (0-3 from 3) for 10 points and a -15.
Josh Hart and Obi Toppin were also on the court when Orlando couldn’t be stopped. Hart had 7 points and a -10 in 29 minutes; Obi had 5 points and a -25.
3. No Brunson
With Brunson out with the wrist sprain, Immanuel Quickley stepped into the starting point guard role, and Miles McBride played 6 minutes off the bench.
Quickley did well — 25 points on 7-17 shooting (2-7 from 3; 9-10 in free throws) with 7 assists and a +7.
But both he and McBride allowed Cole Anthony to get his 3 off — and Anthony burned NY for 18 points on 6-13 shooting (4-6 from 3).
4. Randle Flipped Out at the Half
The other ugly part of the loss was Julius Randle flipping out just before the half at lack of calls from the refs — and then yelling at teammate Immanuel Quickley who was trying to calm him down.
Julius Randle was not happy. pic.twitter.com/Mk0B1cCYBI
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 24, 2023
Randle had a good game — and was a big reason for the Knicks’ 3rd quarter comeback — but he was condemned for his behavior by the media and many fans on Twitter. Although some defended him — saying teammates yelling at each other has happened all the time to winning teams throughout history.
Randle finished with 23 points on 7-20 shooting with 9 rebounds and a +20 — which some fans also pointed out.
LOUD "LET'S GO KNICKS" chants in Orlando 📢 pic.twitter.com/mIY48JX3cO
— KNICKS ON MSG (@KnicksMSGN) March 24, 2023
5. Grimes Great Again
Quentin Grimes had his second terrific game in two nights — after taking 1 shot in
Grimes had 25 points on 10-18 shooting (5-10 from 3), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and a +17.
25 for @qdotgrimes now with FIVE threes 🔥 pic.twitter.com/5bDwb1NlDc
— KNICKS ON MSG (@KnicksMSGN) March 24, 2023
“Aggressive. Not hesitating on his shot,” said Thibs about Grimes. “Put it on the floor made some good plays. Got some steals. That 3rd quarter I thought our defense got us into the open floor; we got some easy buckets, and that allowed us to get a good rhythm going. And that helped a lot. But we exerted so much energy trying to fight out of that hole that we fell short in the end.”
6. Robinson Big Inside Game
Mitchell Robinson — 12 rebounds, 3 blocks, and a steal in 31 minutes but only took 1 shot and hit it to finish with 2 points.
Isaiah Hartenstein got 3 shots — and hit them all for 6 points and 4 rebounds in 16 minutes.
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) March 24, 2023
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