Knick’s impressive ball movement helped them spoil Paolo Banchero’s MSG debut in their win over a young, rebuilding Orlando Magic squad.

After a one-sided home opener versus the Detroit Pistons, the New York Knicks (2-1) welcomed the Orlando Magic (0-3) to Madison Square Garden on Monday night. After a back-and-forth game, the Knicks capitalized on Magic turnovers in the fourth quarter, which was a major beneficiary in their 115-102 victory. In their last 5 games against Orlando, the Knicks are 3-2, most notably losing to them twice early last season, which set the tone for how their 2021-22 season went. This was not the case in this one, with Brunson, Barrett, and Randle scoring 20-plus points apiece for the first time this season in the win.

The matchup between Julius Randle and this year’s number one overall pick Paolo Banchero was to watch. At first glance, Banchero does not look or play like a rookie as he poured in 21 in just the fourth game of his young career. The product from Duke has scored 20-plus points in each of his four games thus far. Despite a strong showing from the rookie, Randle bested Banchero in this outing, finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds. The 2021 Most Improved Player has really benefitted from the addition of Jalen Brunson, who was able to hit Randle in his spots. Brunson added 21 points and 6 assists and hit a couple of key jumpers to silence what could have been a late-game run for the Orlando Magic.

R.J. Barrett continues to turn heads, but not for the right reasons. After signing a 4 year, $120 million extension, Barrett’s play has been disappointing in what was anticipated to be a big year for the fourth-year forward. Despite his bad play to start the season, Monday’s game was a step in the right direction for Barrett. He may have finished the game shooting a rough 7-for-19 from the field, but with his 20 points and a team-high box plus/minus of 22, Barrett’s play tonight went beyond his shooting percentages. He also nailed a three late in the fourth quarter to seal the deal for the Knicks.

The biggest takeaway from the Knicks’ win over the Magic? Their ball movement. The ball seemed like it was on a thread as it was whipped across the court, the Knicks created high-quality looks while playing great team basketball as they totaled 24 assists on the night. Immanuel Quickley led the way in the assist column with eight. While he may not have scored, Quickley found other ways to impact the game by playing within the offense and creating for his teammates, and rebounding. If the Knicks can keep up this type of play on the offensive end, it could spell trouble for the opposition as each player poses a threat within their sets.

In the loss, versatile Magic center Bol Bol had an impressive outing, recording 19 points and four blocks in just 20 minutes of action against the Knicks. His length combined with his body control was extremely impressive showing his skills go beyond the numbers. After struggling with limited minutes and injuries for his first two seasons in the league, Bol is finally healthy and is now finding more minutes with Orlando. His solid game under the Garden’s bright lights could earn him more run as the season goes on for the Magic.


  • In the win, Derrick Rose was the only Knick to post a negative box plus/minus at -10, scoring just 3 points in 9 minutes of play. Could Rose be the player for New York that falls out of the rotation when Quentin Grimes (foot) returns?
  • While R.J. Barrett struggled from the field overall, he made up for it by canning 3-of-7 shots from behind the arc, good for 42.7% from distance.
  • The Knicks’ rebounding was on point tonight as they dominated the battle on the glass, 62-49. Of those 62 rebounds, 18 were on the offensive side of the ball as the Knicks continue to display their relentlessness to find second-chance opportunities.
  • Although he has been successful in limited minutes this season, Obi Toppin has not been able to find the floor in Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. Toppin may have scored 10 points in a 13-minute sample size against the Magic, but given how Julius Randle is playing to start off the year, Obi’s minutes may be hard to come by at certain points this year.

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» Five Takeaways From The Knicks’ Season Opener

» Derrick Rose May Play an Unfamiliar Role This Season

» RJ Barrett Can Move The Needle