Friday, December 6, 2013

W2W4: Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks

Brad Penner/USA Today Sports
By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks

Pre-Game News and Notes

The Knicks were able to snap their nine-game losing streak last night against the poor Brooklyn Nets in blowout fashion. Tonight they will look to build their first winning streak of the season and carry some momentum from last night into tonight’s contest against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks had their best game of the season against the Nets and dominated in every facet of the game and will look to continue their success against the Magic, a team they swept in four games in the regular season last year. Here are some things to keep an eye on in tonight’s game against the 6-12 Magic as the Knicks will face off with talented rookie Victor Oladipo for the first time.

-Player Updates

The Knicks come into the game surprisingly fresh on the second night of a back-to-back as many starters and regulars were able to rest last night against the Nets for the better part of the second half; Carmelo Anthony played the most minutes, registering a season low 31. Once again Tyson Chandler will not be suiting up, but he is getting closer and closer to a return. The original timetable was set at 4-6 weeks and he hit four weeks out last night. His return will be welcomed with open arms by the Knicks.

For the Magic they are dealing with quite a few injuries. Starting point guard Jameer Nelson is questionable for the game tonight with a foot injury. Young up-and-coming center Nikola Vucevic is also questionable with an ankle injury. Long Island native Tobias Harris will be out, as there is no timetable in place yet for him to return from his high left ankle sprain. He has attempted to go through warm-ups recently but was unable to make it through them without pain.

-Knicks Streaking

The Knicks were able to snap one lousy streak last night in their nine-game losing streak. Tonight they will attempt to snap an even more unsightly one; a seven game losing streak at Madison Square Garden. The struggles that the Knicks have faced early on this season have been well documented and nothing hurts more than losing at home. The Knicks need to make Madison Square Garden a place opponents fear playing at again. According to STATS LLC, the Knicks are one game off of the longest home losing streak of eight games set during the 1963-1964 season.

-Things Finally Turning

The Knicks put forth their best game against the lowly Nets Thursday night and will look to continue building on that. A big reason for it was how efficiently the Knicks shot the ball from deep. They knocked down 16 of 27 three point attempts and shot 57 percent overall from the field. They assisted on 24 of their 44 baskets and had six different players score in double figures. They also turned the ball over only 12 times, something last season’s team excelled at; if you can keep opposing teams out of transition it keeps them from getting easy baskets. The Knicks also made 13 three pointers Sunday against the New Orleans Pelicans, albeit it on 35 attempts, but that’s still good for 37 percent. If the Knicks start knocking down three pointers they will be a tough team to stop, much like last season.

-Less Melo Better for Knicks?

Last night the Knicks were very successful scoring the basketball without much help from their top scorer Carmelo Anthony. Anthony scored 19 points on 8-12 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and six assists. Anthony was more than willing to pass the ball and hit the open man, not even attempting a shot last night until four and half minutes left in the first quarter.

One player who benefited greatly from Anthony’s willingness to move the ball was Iman Shumpert, who played with great energy and passion Thursday night and scored a season-high tying 17 points. He also knocked down an impressive 5-7 from the three point line. If Anthony can continue getting his teammates involved and playing like he did last night the Knicks will be a dangerous team because he is still more than capable of carrying a team offensively. 

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