Second Look: Orlando Magic 111, New York Knicks 99 | Magic Basketball

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Mar 24

Second Look: Orlando Magic 111, New York Knicks 99

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Orlando Magic may have found their teachable moment Wednesday night. After a first half in which the New York Knicks’ Chauncey Billups, Toney Douglas and Roger Mason Jr. drained 3-pointer after 3-pointer, the Magic returned to the visitors’ locker room inside Madison Square Garden and received a not-so-gentle reminder from their coach. Stan Van Gundy pointed to a dry-erase board that listed what the team wanted to accomplish on defense. Then he asked his players if they had achieved those goals. Nobody answered “yes.” Point made. The Magic ramped up their defense and rode an MVP-caliber offensive performance from center Dwight Howard to recover from an eight-point deficit and beat the slumping Knicks 111-99 at Madison Square Garden. [...] Orlando limited New York to 40 points and 31.8 percent shooting in the second half, prompting what remained of the sellout crowd to boo the Knicks as the final minute ticked off the clock. ‘We didn’t give up a ton of easy shots,’ Van Gundy said. ‘That was the key to the game.’ Superb effort on defense likely will be the key to their rapidly approaching postseason. The Magic have won four consecutive games largely because of their defense.”
  • John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com: “Prior to Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden, Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy asked the New York media to hold their votes for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award and consider superstar center Dwight Howard. Howard then went out and backed up his coach’s bold talk with a dominant, do-everything effort that proved worthy of the media not yet awarding the honor to heavy favorite, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. Howard demolished New York inside to the tune of 33 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots to lift the Magic to an impressive 111-99 victory and possibly lift himself back into the race to win the league’s MVP honor. Howard was unstoppable on the offensive end, making 11 of 15 shots and a jaw-dropping 11 of 13 attempts from the free throw line. And the two-time Defensive Player of the Year also did solid work on the defensive end, limiting Amar’e Stoudemire to a 2 of 16 shooting start and a pedestrian 13 points in the game.”
  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “In Jared Jeffries and Ronny Turiaf, the Knicks have two players who can handle Howard better than most in the post, but with New York trailing, coach Mike D’Antoni elected to play Stoudemire at center in order to get more offense. His idea, a sound one in theory, backfired. Howard managed to get deep position and gave the Knicks no choice but to foul him. Due to all the foul shots, the fourth quarter won’t exactly make Howard’s season highlight reel, but perhaps his work earlier will. 11-of-15 shooting from the floor for Howard as he chewed up the Knicks with a series of back-to-basket moves. There ought to be no argument anymore about his offensive game: he is well nigh unstoppable on that end most nights.”
  • Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times: “Amar’e Stoudemire slowly unwrapped the ice from his knees and unraveled the tape from his ankles before exhaling loudly. He logged more heavy minutes, lost another game, and still assumed the burden of explaining exactly what went wrong. Stoudemire is the model of consistency in this rickety Knicks season, supplying points and filling a leadership void. Those commendable assets were missing Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Stoudemire scored 13 points — his fewest as a Knick — under a blur of missed shots and opportunities. The Knicks otherwise remained the same. They played capably for three quarters, collapsed badly and rallied late against the Orlando Magic in a 111-99 loss. The outcome dropped the Knicks (35-36) below .500 for the first time in four months, long before the addition of Carmelo Anthony turned from fantasy to reality. On Wednesday, the ‘Me-lo’ chants that greeted Anthony melted into boos that cemented another loss.”
  • Howard Beck of the New York Times: “The advice probably sounds strange coming from the N.B.A.’s most famously stressed-out superstar. Jerry West — Lakers legend and Hall of Fame worrier — believes Knicks fans need to relax. Few people have explored the extreme highs and lows of competition as thoroughly as West did over four decades as a player and executive. He took defeat harder than most, tortured himself with unreasonably high expectations and pushed his health to the brink. So West is speaking from a unique place when he counsels Knicks fans fretting over the Carmelo Anthony trade to chill out. The statement is particularly poignant coming from West, the architect of two Laker dynasties (in the 1980s and 2000s), and a star player on another (in the 1960s). Patience was never his strength. West’s teams lost in the finals seven times — an experience that — ‘scarred me even to this day’ — before finally winning a title.”
  • Chris Sheridan of ESPN New York: “One month from now, the New York Knicks will be sitting in their locker room, preparing to play Game 3 of their first-round playoff series. And if they are sitting there tied 1-1 in that series, nobody is going to remember what’s been happening this March. So climb off the ledge and get back inside. Knock off the panic. Cool it on the doomsday hysteria. The Knicks might seem like they are in a world of trouble, but they aren’t. And if you don’t want to hear that from a sportswriter, consider this: That message is exactly the message Chauncey Billups delivered to the rest of the team in the wake of their 111-99 loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night, their seventh defeat in the past eight games as they dropped one game below .500 (35-36).”
  • Ian Begley of ESPN New York: “The Knicks are just 7-10 since Carmelo Anthony’s arrival, but you can’t put their latest loss all on Anthony’s shoulders. That’s because Amare Stoudemire, the other half of New York’s All-Star tandem, had his worst night as a Knick on Wednesday. Stoudemire missed 15 of 20 shots to finish with a season-low 13 points as New York lost 111-99 to the Orlando Magic. The Knicks have lost four straight and seven of eight, falling under .500 for the first time since Nov. 27. Afterward, Stoudemire blamed fatigue for his subpar night.”
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