There was no three-point barrage. The scoring was far from balanced. And yet, the Knicks still managed to find a way to win against the Orlando Magic last night.
Limiting turnovers, working the ball inside, and playing ball-hawking difference were the keys. The Knicks, who only shot 9-24 from beyond the arc. By the Knicks managed to force 20 turnovers while only committing 9 themselves. The Knicks have often utilized a swarming defense where two players crowd the man with the ball. It takes precise ball movement to beat it.
Carmelo Anthony had a marvelous offensive game, which was aided by his hot stroke from mid-range. He finished with 25 points on 11-25 shooting. The only downside was his inability to draw fouls against the smaller Magic. He shot only three free throws. Raymond Felton turned shooter and added 21 points with 5 assists on 9-23 shooting. J.R. Smith is still on fire. In 14 attempts, he made 9 of them for 21 points. He made both of his threes.
The Knicks got off to a- what is become- customary slow start. Orlando was at their peak. A team without stars, 7 men scored in double figures. New York has tended to surge late int he first quarter and did so again. At one point, the Knicks held a ten point lead. But that lead vanished as quickly as it was built.
Despite lackluster play in the first half, the Knicks stayed close with the surging Magic. The third and fourth quarters were turnover filled for the Magic and Smith filled for the Knicks. New York won 99-89 and is now 5-0.
One final note: Magic broadcaster Matt Guokas simply killed Tyson Chandler. He said Tyson whines and cries. He said Tyson was playing terrible and didn't deserve to be defensive player of the year last year. He said if someone came to this planet and were told that Chandler was the reigning defensive player of the year, that martian wouldn't believe it. It was relentless, puzzling, unprofessional, and uncharacteristic of Matt Guokas who is usually a good announcer.