On Monday Jan 16, 2012, the New York Knicks lost to the Orlando Magic 102-93 at Madison Square Garden. It was the third straight loss for the Knicks and fourth straight win for the Magic.
Entering the game, the Magic were the top three-point shooting team in the league (10 per game). The Knicks were second-worst in defending the three. That was a recipe for disaster for the Knicks, as the Magic hit 17 three-pointers. Magic forward Ryan Anderson shot seven of 13 from downtown. That was too much firepower for the Knicks to handle.
Howard Held in Check
The Knicks did a good job containing Magic center Dwight Howard (8 points, 10 rebounds). But by double-teaming Howard, the Knicks were exposed on the perimeter. The Knicks chose to take Howard out of the game, and the Magic shooters made them pay. The Magic shot 50% from the field, 48% from long range. The Magic are clearly not a one-man team.
Amar'e Stoudemire struggled most of the game, scoring just 10 points. He was also in constant foul trouble. Stoudemire has looked uncomfortable in the offense this season. Without an experienced point guard next to him, he has been inconsistent.
Rookie guard Iman Shumpert had a solid game (12 points, 3 steals). He bounced back from terrible shooting performances in the previous two games. Shumpert provided the highlight of the night. His steal and behind-the-back pass to Carmelo Anthony electrified the Garden crowd. [video: Iman Shumpert behind back pass to Carmelo Anthony]
Still Not Clicking
The Knicks played solid basketball for much of the game. But the three-point shooting of the Magic was just too much to handle. The Knicks are playing very good defense this season (eighth in defensive efficiency), but their offense has struggled. They are banking on a healthy Baron Davis to get the offense going. However, Davis is still a few weeks away from making his Knicks debut. Even so, Davis will be yet another new face trying to assimilate with the team. It is going to take time before these players learn how to play together.
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Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has been a Knicks fan since the early 1980s. He has visited Madison Square Garden on many occasions to watch the Knicks and his favorite player, Patrick Ewing. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @FlipPoker.