Two national TV games versus Orlando. Two Knicks blowouts. Nice.
The Knicks defeated Orlando for the second time in as many weeks, as they blew out the Magic 96-80. Tyson Chandler led the way with a solid 12 points and 12 rebounds. He shut down Dwight Howard for the 3rd time this season, holding the Magic center to 8 points and 8 rebounds. The scoring was balanced as five different Knicks scored in double figures.
New York used a strong 2nd quarter to build a big lead on Orlando. The Knicks were hitting the 3 ball all game, hitting 13/25 in the game, but they were especially good in the first half. JR Smith and Steve Novak were 5/6 from downtown in the first two quarters as the Knicks built a 12 point halftime lead. Landry Fields’ 10 3rd quarter points helped put the game away.
Having checked out for the night, Orlando completely gave up in the 4th quarter and the Knicks coasted to victory. Dwight Howard gave Marburian effort and made no impact on the game. In fact, the beleaguered big man didn’t score a point until there were 3 seconds left in the 3rd quarter. Without any effort from their leader, the rest of the Magic team simply ran through the motions until the final buzzer.
Despite Orlando’s ineptitude, this was a good win for the Knicks. It was the second game of Landry Fields’ reincarnation. The second year shooting guard sparked the offense in the 3rd quarter, scoring 10 points. He also hit 2/4 from downtown. This is the second consecutive game in which Fields has hit multiple three pointers. In two April games, Fields has hit four three pointers. In all of March, he hit just two. While he played well, his free throw shooting continues to be abysmal. Fields was a sickening 0/6 from the free throw line, reducing his free throw percentage to 59.8% on the season.
Toney Douglas was not horrible tonight. The really really really beleaguered point guard scored 15 points on 7/12 shooting. Granted, the Magic’s fourth quarter defensive scheme consisted of staring at the cute blonde behind Van Gundy and picking their collective asses, but Douglas still shot the ball well. I like seeing Douglas do well. Toney is a hard worker and a good teammate. His inability to do anything well drives me insane, but I’m happy to see him starting to play well. I’m not getting too jumpy about his performance tonight. I want to see him do it against defenders facing the right direction before I get too excited.
Earl Smith III had a nice game for the Knicks. In a game plan chalk full of isolations, Earl hit 3/4 from downtown and scored 15 points. This was Smith’s second good game in the past three, he sucked in Indiana and played well against the Cavs. I think that Smith is beginning to find some rhythm shooting the ball from the perimeter. Given the consistent ineptitude of the Knicks perimeter shooting, it is absolutely huge for the Knicks to get Smith going. I like what I’m seeing.
Baron Davis continues to be a work in progress, but at least he only had one turnover tonight. Jorts was pretty good in 12 minutes. He played solid defense on
Coward Howard and amused us with a Jorts slam in the second quarter. Melo was also good tonight. His stat line shows 6/16, but he missed about four of those shots on a hilariously sloppy sequence in which he missed three layups. Anthony shot the ball pretty well and made a cool circus jump shot in the third quarter in which he didn’t look at the hoop.
Apart from that, there isn’t much to write home about this game. The Knicks have two huge upcoming games against Chicago, whose defense will be paying attention. Given their slight 1 1/2 game lead over Milwaukee for the 8th seed, New York has to at least win one of those games, if not both of them. The Knicks play Chicago at the Garden on Sunday at 1 EST. It should be fun.