Paolo Banchero, playing in his first game as a pro at Madison Square Garden, racked up 21 points, Bol Bol scored a career-best 19 points, Wendell Carter Jr. recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, and New York City-raised Cole Anthony had 14 points, but the Orlando Magic struggled to get into a consistent offensive rhythm in Monday’s 115-102 loss.
Bol had quite an impressive stretch midway through the second quarter. First, he banked in a 3-pointer and then, on Orlando’s very next possession, showcased his fancy footwork with a Eurostep layup. Not just a one-side-of-the-floor player, the 7-foot-2, versatile big man swatted away Jalen Brunson’s shot moments later – one of four blocks he had on the night.
After a Carter Jr. putback dunk cut New York’s lead to six with four minutes and change left in the fourth quarter, Brunson managed to hit a mid-range jumper as he got hit on the arm and then completed the AND-1 at the line. Following a few scoreless possessions, Mitchell Robinson followed up a miss with a layup to push the Knicks’ lead back to double digits.
Banchero joined Elvin Hayes and Oscar Robertson as the only No. 1 overall draft picks to score 20-plus points in their first four NBA games.
Jalen Suggs (right ankle), Markelle Fultz (toe), Moe Wagner (sprained right midfoot), Gary Harris (left knee rehabilitation), and Jonathan Isaac (left knee rehabilitation) were unavailable for the Magic. Quentin Grimes (foot) was the only player out for the Knicks.
Quote of the Day
“We talk about the little things all the time – whether that’s free throws, taking care of the basketball, the small box out that we make sure we finish the possession with a rebound. Continue to put ourselves in position. That’s the one thing they have to understand – we are putting ourselves in position to get there, and then understand how to get over that hurdle.” – Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley on his team learning how to come through in clutch situations
This Day in History
For the second straight season, the Magic played the Knicks at MSG on Oct. 24. Last year, led by Anthony’s 29-point, 16-rebound, eight-assist performance and a 22-point fourth quarter from Terrence Ross, Orlando defeated New York in Jamahl Mosley’s first-ever win as a head coach. Julius Randle led the Knicks that night with 30 points and 16 rebounds. The only other time in franchise history the Magic played on Oct. 24 was in 2017, when Aaron Gordon erupted for 41 points in a victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
The Knicks might be the hardest team in the league to gauge this season. We know they are capable of being an elite defensive team. They ranked fourth in defense just two seasons ago. Their offense is hit or miss, but adding Brunson helps. RJ Barrett should take another big step in his development. Their bench – led by Derrick Rose, Cam Reddish, and Obi Toppin – is solid. They have a proven coach in Tom Thibodeau. Part of the problem, however, is that the East is very strong. It’s not going to be easy for the teams that either were in the play-in tournament or missed the playoffs last year to eclipse the teams that reached the postseason.
The Magic wrap up a two-game road trip against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. These two teams met in the preseason, with the Magic prevailing 114-108. Banchero led Orlando with 17 points, while Anthony scored 14, Franz Wagner 13 and Caleb Houstan 11. The only member of Cleveland’s Big Four that played in that contest was Evan Mobley, and even if he only played 17 minutes. Donovan Mitchell, acquired in early September by the Cavs in a blockbuster trade from the Jazz, has gotten off to a tremendous start to the season, averaging 33.3 points through three games.
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