After a dismal 133-112 loss to the Golden State Warriors at home on Friday night, Orlando was hoping to bounce back on the road against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.
Orlando was able to take advantage of New York being without two starters, including forward Kristaps Porzingis.
The Magic rode the hot hand of center Nikola Vucevic, who connected on 13-of-19 field goal attempts, scored 34 points and snatched 12 rebounds in Orlando’s 105-100 victory over the Knicks. Orlando is right back in action again tonight when they face the Charlotte Hornets, which is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip at the Spectrum Center.
”Throughout the game I (felt) good. In the fourth quarter, I know it’s a time when we need to win a game, we needed to close the game,” Vucevic said about his hot hand in the final period. ”So, I wanted to keep my aggressiveness and carry my team (until) the end.”
Vucevic keyed Orlando’s 10-0 run in the fourth quarter, scoring eight straight points for the Magic. The Knicks (11-11) didn’t go down quietly, as they nearly came back from a 17-point deficit to turnaround and win the contest.
Without the services of Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr., the Knicks relied upon the play of former Magic guard Courtney Lee, forward Michael Beasley and center Enes Kanter. The three combined for 58 points on the night.
Orlando (10-14) had its own slew of contributions across the board from its starting five, as every starter scored in double digits. Evan Fournier finished with 20 points, and Jonathan Simmons and Elfrid Payton ended the night at 16 and 15, respectively.
”At this point, we’re trying to get as many wins as we can to hang in there with this tough stretch of our schedule,” said Magic coach Frank Vogel. ”Whatever breaks we get, we’ll take. It was a good one for us.”
Last time Orlando faced New York was back on Nov. 8 in a 112-99 victory at the Amway Center.