The first quarter was the Magic’s for the taking. They overpowered the Knicks with Dwight Howard, and New York couldn’t give an answer. But then a radical shift occurred. Howard went to the bench to start the second quarter and the Knicks played superb defense allowing just 15 points. In the third, New York continued the dominance, but then, another shift in the game took place.
After the Knicks took over in quarter two and went to the half up by 11, I expected them to be able to come out and hold the lead. They did until the fourth, where the Magic were able to get clutch performers to light it up.
Jameer Nelson was simply too quick in the fourth quarter. Nelson had 13 fourth quarter points and 26 total. Had it not been for his presence late in the game, the Knicks could very well have been topping off win number 31 tonight against a long Orlando team. The irony of Nelson taking control of New York is due to his size. I thought the Knicks would lose because of length, but it turned out to show the liability of Chauncey Billups on defense.
With that slight criticism of Billups, it is necessary to point out that he led the team throughout the game and got to the free throw line 20 times on the night. He knocked down 4-9 from three point land. Chauncey left the game with less than three minutes to go with a bruised thigh. Not a good sign moving forward. Will he miss tomorrow’s game against the Hornets in New York? We’ll have to wait and see.
If the Knicks had won, would analysts be touting them a “top four team in the East”? For me, it’s too early for monikers like that. In truth, I still need to see what this team is made of. Taking a positive though, this game gave me more confidence if the Knicks were to strike a first round matchup against Orlando. While that is an unlikely occurrence, it is a step in the right direction for the ‘Bockers.
If you are one that likes to look ahead at the standings, the Sixers lost tonight to the Mavs, therefore not hurting the Knicks in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
The Knicks have to be able to look forward to tomorrow, where they have a chance to rid themselves of the bad loss tonight.