Thursday, November 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: Orlando Magic at New York Knicks

Fueled by an appreciative crowd that spent most of the night chanting in support, the New York Knicks set a team record Friday for most made 3-pointers in a single game during a lopsided victory at Orlando.

The victory helped the Knicks extended the franchise’s longest season-opening unbeaten streak in almost a decade to a modest two games.

The Knicks will look to complete a back-to-back sweep of the Magic on Sunday when the Eastern Conference rivals meet for the second time in 48 hours, this time at New York.

The Knicks remained unbeaten Friday, when they drained 24 3-pointers and led by as many as 34 points in a 121-96 win over the Magic. New York’s previous record for 3-pointers in a game was 20, set three times previously and most recently on Dec. 1, 2018, at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.

“We wanted to shoot more 3s, but we wanted them to be the right 3s,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “So when guys are pulling it down, when the second defender comes, make the right read. Your rim reads are critical and make the extra pass.”

Four New York players hit four 3-pointers apiece Friday and a crowd of 18,846 at Orlando chanted “Let’s go Knicks,” as the Knicks improved to 2-0 for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

“(It) was a home game,” said Knicks guard Evan Fournier, who played six-plus seasons with the Magic. “I mean, my goodness. I’ve been in that building many, many times and I felt like I was at home tonight. That’s really what it felt like.”

The Knicks are sure to play in front of another welcoming crowd Sunday. On Wednesday, a raucous sellout crowd of 19,812 attended New York’s 138-134 double-overtime win over the Boston Celtics, a victory that Julius Randle punctuated by throwing the ball into the stands after the final buzzer.

The Magic’s inexperience has been exposed during an 0-2 start, the first time they have lost consecutive games to start a season since 2016-17. Orlando has fallen to the Knicks and San Antonio Spurs by a combined 51 points.

Against the Spurs on Wednesday, the Magic led for much of the first quarter and remained within a possession of the lead well into the second quarter.

On Friday against the Knicks, Orlando fell behind for good fewer than four minutes into the game. The Magic went 0-for-8 from the field while being outscored 16-0 over the final 4:34 of the first quarter and trailed 36-16.

The Magic’s starters in the first two games – Cole Anthony, Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr., Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner – are all 23 years of age or younger. All five were first-round draft picks.

“I think we made a lot of (what) one would call juvenile mistakes,” Bamba said of Friday’s game. “We just kept losing the shooters. We know Evan personally. We know (Alec) Burks wants to shoot it. We need to do a better job of knowing personnel and knowing tendencies.”

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