Recap of Loss to Magic by Declan Ryan

(Note, we apologize to Declan for getting this very well written recap up late. We would also post a recap of last night’s loss to the Pacers but that would be NSFW)

Knicks lose at home to Magic, 105-100

With Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis out through injury, the Knicks (11-11)
fell to the visiting Orlando Magic (10-14) 105-100 in what was an uninspiring 48
minutes of NBA basketball.

Sunday’s loss sees the Knicks having won only 1 of their last 5 games, the only win
in that stretch coming against the Whiteside-less Heat on Wednesday. The absence
of both THJ and KP made a seemingly perfect opportunity for Frank Ntilikina to be
green-lit for sizeable minutes, yet as the game progressed it became obvious that
Jeff Hornacek had other ideas.

Immediately shifting the blame to the foul disparity in his post-game interview,
Hornacek failed to justify why at 8.55 in the 4 th he decided to bench Ntilikina for
Ramon Sessions’ first and only minutes of the game – not bringing the French rookie
back onto the court until the game was almost over with 25 seconds left to play.

Sessions immediately missed a wide open 3 pointer and had a -5 in his 4 minutes of
action. This substitution left the Knicks with a lineup of Sessions, Baker, Lee,
Beasley and KOQ playing important clutch minutes, where Ntilikina could have
instead been gaining invaluable experience in a game where despite foul trouble
early, he was being productive offensively.

Notwithstanding the 4 th however, the Knicks will rue their ineptitude in the 1 st where
they were down by as many as 17 points. Jarrett Jack and Enes Kanter were most
noticeable with their self-destruct style of defense allowing the Magic to enter the
paint like a hot knife through butter. On the surface Kanter’s 18 points and 16
rebounds seem more than serviceable for the Knicks most talented starter on
Sunday, but he allowed the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic to have 34 points and 12
rebounds, offering a stark reminder of perhaps why Kanter won’t be the long-term
answer at the 5 position for the Knicks – Vucevic had his number all game.

Unfortunately for rookie Damyean Dotson his first career start was met with great
effort but poor execution as he ended the afternoon with 2 points on 1-3 shooting, 1
rebound, 0 assists and with the worst +/- of any Knicks player with a -16 for the
game. Michael Beasley had a nice 21 points but made numerous poor decisions
especially in the 4 th that ultimately cost the Knicks, going 1-3 with a foul and a
turnover in the final 5 minutes.

Of course, with their two leading scorers out it’s hard to blame the Knicks for putting
a player like Michael Beasley out there – ultimately the points must come from
somewhere and there is some talent there for the former #2 overall pick – but
Hornacek’s bizarre and inconsistent rotations continue to cost the team. Yes, the
Magic shot 24 free throws to the Knicks’ 11, but that really isn’t why the Knicks failed
to win.
As stated by Enes Kanter post-game*, mistakes and poor defense cost the Knicks
yesterday, but why is 34-year- old Jarrett Jack playing 27 minutes and 19-year- old
Frank Ntilikina only 16? Especially when the team is struggling with stopping
penetration and Ntilikina is probably the team’s best perimeter defender.

Nonetheless, there were bright spots on Sunday. Courtney Lee had another great
game with 19pts, 5reb, 2ast and 2stl in 35 minutes, and despite going 1-7 from the
field McDermott* continues to improve his defense and has developed into less of a
one-dimensional player than first expected upon his arrival from the Melo trade in
September.

The Knicks travel to Indiana to face the Pacers Monday night, once again without
THJ or KP. Whilst Knicks fans will be praying for a swift recovery for both players, it
is concerning that players with a similar injury to that of THJ’s have a recovery
timeframe of multiple weeks, despite no official word given on Hardaway from the
team. ‘More tests’ rarely inspires confidence, but if KP can pass them with flying
colours following his seemingly gruesome and serious ankle injury against Miami on
Wednesday, then it would be wrong to write off THJ without waiting for the official
statement first.

Knicks next 10 games: Pacers (A), Grizzlies (H), Bulls (A), Hawks (H), Lakers (H),
Nets (A), Thunder (H), Hornets (A), Celtics (H), Pistons (A)
*https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYYb3x0_cxA – for Kanter
*https://www.msgnetworks.com/videos/highlight-mcdermott- completes-4- point-play-
just-before- halftime/ – for McDermott

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