Magic beat Knicks 117-108 in front of record crowd

ORLANDO – The Orlando Magic (19-12) defeated the New York Knicks (17-14) 117-108 in front of a 19,507 fans in attendance on Friday night. It was the largest crowd for a Magic game in the Kia Center.

Orlando, Florida, USA, December 29, 2023, New York Knicks player Julius Randle #30 attempt to score during the first half at the Amway Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

Orlando, coming off of a disappointing loss to the 76ers, this win was a great pick me up to Orlando’s confidence. They started the night with Wendell Carter Jr pulling out because of knee tendonitis, which is a sensitive subject with Markelle Fultz being out for much of the season.

Orlando was still without shooter Gary Harris, and defensive phenom Jonathan Isaac, who were both nursing injuries, and both key pieces that would help against New York.

Orlando caught a break, with Knicks giant Mitchell Robinson also not being available. Orlando’s Goga Blaze came to the rescue with a solid performance, and was a key player in the battle with Julius Randle, who still managed to score 38 points in the game.

Franz Wagner led the Magic with 32 points and nine rebounds. Wagner’s solid shooting, 11-19 from the floor, and three of five from beyond the arc.

Orlando, Florida, USA, December 29, 2023, Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner takes a shot in the third quarter at the Amway Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

Paolo Banchero was in full battle mode, scoring 19 points with 10 rebounds, Banchero was a menace at all times for the Knicks. Paolo and Franz continue to lead the Magic to wins by working together.

“Probably the cliché line is they play the right way, but they play the right way.” Said Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley “They make the play that’s necessary to be made. They’re making the right plays because it’s what the game is telling you. That’s when we’re really good. When we’re just taking what the game gives us.

Jalen Suggs also brought the energy, scoring 21 points on the night with six assists, and working with the team to keep Jalen Brunson irritated on defense.

Orlando, Florida, USA, December 29, 2023, New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson #11 rushes forward during the first half at the Amway Center. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

Jalen Brunson was held to 20 points; he went 4 for 15 from the floor and 0 for 4 from beyond the arc. Brunson scored the majority of his points from the line, going 12 for 12 from the free-throw line.

The big swing in the game came in the second quarter, when Orlando outscored New York 29-15, taking them to a 55-44 halftime score.

Franz scored 13 points in the second quarter, and the Magic limited all the Knicks players to single-digit scoring, a testament to their defense – first team philosophy.

Orlando managed to withstand the Knicks’ late pushes with the selfless and thankless play of players like Anthony Black.

The rookie guard doesn’t put up huge numbers, but he does a lot of the work that isn’t always seen in the numbers, and that work is often a thankless job. But his head coach sees his value.

“He’s a special individual who loves to sit down and play defense and guard the right way.” Said Mosley “I think he did a heck of a job on Jalen Brunson. Jalen Suggs did a great job on Jalen Brunson. But the other thing is it was a team effort. You know, we changed up the looks, made it tough all throughout the night. Again, it’s a team effort but AB did a heck of a job initially.” 

Orlando heads out on a west coast tour, facing Phoenix, Golden State, Sacramento, and Denver, before returning to Orlando to face the Atlanta Hawks on January 7th at the Kia Center.





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