The Magic Face “Gut-Check” Loss Against the Knicks

New York Knicks Elfrid Payton knocks the ball from the Orlando Magic’s Kem Birch as the Magic faced the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York

NEW YORK – I’ve stated this before. To be considered a playoff contender these are the types of games playoff teams win. These are the types of games where you handle your business. Too often this season Orlando has played up or down to their competition. Tonight, it came back to haunt the Magic as they lost to the Knicks 105-103.

Orlando finds themselves in the midst of another losing streak at 2 games, while in their last 10 games, they’ve gone an egregious 2-8. 

This is due to their inconsistent and at times, careless play. Fortunately for Orlando, because of the weaker teams in the bottom half of the East, they still hold their 8th seed position.

The Magic however, continued their sloppy play as they committed 20 turnovers to 22 assists. Of the 20 turnovers, 12 of them were Knicks steals.

“I just told the guys, so last night 17, tonight 21 (20), four I believe in the last four minutes. – The last play is totally on me– I believe it was like 10.1 on the clock, which is plenty of time”, said Coach Steve Clifford.

Coach Clifford continued with, “And I told them, as soon as it gets discombobulated whatever, we can call a timeout. I think there was like 4.3, 4.4 now, I understand they’re ref-fing the game to me, you know, they changed the rule two years ago so the coach can’t run on the floor like we used to. – My only thing is they did a good job officiating the game, to me they’ve got to be organized too.” 

New York Knicks Elfrid Payton stands over the Orlando Magic’s Evan Fournier as the Magic faced the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York

Once again, the issue that plagued Orlando was their inability to execute. 

Nikola Vucevic bounced back with a solid outing of 25 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 blocks.

Vucevic on the last play of the game, “They did a good job of running back, and we just, you know, didn’t do a good job of executing. We should have you know, did a better job of reacting in that moment, but again we didn’t lose because of that last play. We lost because we had twenty-two turnovers and cause you know, we couldn’t get stops consistently throughout the game.”

For New York, Wayne Ellington off the bench got himself going, finishing with 12 points, but what’s notable is the way in which he accumulated those points. Ellington went 4-6 from behind the arc, putting his stamp on the outcome of this game.

“At one point, we were up ten, he hit two threes, one at the buzzer, then he hit another one from the corner and those you know give you life”, said Vucevic on Ellington’s impact.

Following this loss, Chicago and Detroit are chasing Orlando for the 8th seed, only a few games back. Meanwhile, the Magic must ready themselves as they host a powerhouse in the Milwaukee Bucks who hold the best record in the league at 44-7.

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