AP Photo/John Raoux
The Orlando Magic were able to defeat the New York Knicks by the score of 118-103, a win that seemed like a formality for the Magic. A trio of starters and reserves led the way for Orlando, all scoring in double-figures and accounting for the majority of the Magic’s points. Dwight Howard had 25 points and 13 rebounds and Vince Carter had 25 points, five assists, and two steals, both seemingly scoring at will against the Knicks. But it can be argued that Ryan Anderson stole the show, stuffing the stat sheet with 19 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks and playing one of his best games of the year. On the flip-side, Danilo Gallinari had 28 points for New York.
Honestly, there isn’t much to say about a game where the end result was what everyone expected — a double-digit win for Orlando.
For the majority of the night, the Magic ran a healthy diet of 4-out/1-in offensive sets for Howard, knowing that there wasn’t much the Knicks could do about it defensively. As such, it came as no surprise that head coach Mike D’Antoni elected to double-team Howard almost every time he was in the post, to force the basketball out of his hands. The strategy worked but unfortunately for New York, they did a poor job of rotating on defense when Howard kicked the ball out to the perimeter. As a result, Orlando didn’t have much trouble scoring in those situations when the chances presented themselves.
Carter played well, getting things going on offense mostly in the first and third quarters where he scored 22 of his 25 points. How did he score? Either in the 2/5 pick and roll with Howard or in spot-up shooting opportunities. Carter didn’t having too much trouble scoring, particularly in the pick and rolls because when the Magic ran them, the Knicks would switch on those plays almost every time. That or when Howard screened Carter’s defender off, a big man for New York would have to guard him on the perimeter. Thus giving Carter a matchup advantage, which he exploited more often than not.
But how about Anderson?
It’s more than obvious that Anderson is in a nice groove right now and his excellent performance against the Knicks was another indication of that. Anderson was mixing it up on offense and not settling for threes, something he’s been doing a better job of since re-entering the rotation a few weeks ago.
[8:26] Anderson, 27-foot three-point jump shot (Pietrus assist)
[7:37] Anderson makes tip shot
[4:48] Anderson, 24-foot three-point jump shot
[9:45] Anderson dunk (Redick assist)
[8:03] Anderson makes tip shot
[6:09] Anderson lay-up
[4:20] Anderson, 27-foot foot three-point jump shot (Nelson assist)
[2:20] Anderson dunk (Howard assist)
It’s games like these that show Anderson could potentially be Rashard Lewis’ successor at the stretch four when the time comes. Seriously.