Knicks Host Magic In Matinee Rematch at MSG
1. Despite losing their leading scorer early in the first quarter, the Knicks fought through the adversity and cruised past the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. Kristaps Porzingis suffered an ankle injury at the 9:34 mark of the first period. While Porzingis did not return to the game, X-rays were negative and he was in good spirits inside New York’s locker room following the contest on Wednesday. Enes Kanter rose to the occasion against the Heat with Porzingis sidelined. The big man returned to the lineup after missing three games due to back spasms. Kanter scored a season-high 22 points and hauled down 14 boards in just 25 minutes of work. Courtney Lee added 17 points and Doug McDermott posted 12 in the 115-86 win.
2. Porzingis did not practice on Friday and was sick on Saturday. The team listed Porzingis as questionable for today’s contest against the Magic. When Porzingis did not suit up in Houston last week, head coach Jeff Hornacek placed Michael Beasley in the starting lineup at the power forward position. Beasley registered a season-high 30 points on 14-of-23 shooting from the floor against the Rockets. Frank Ntilikina is also dealing with a sprained ankle and is questionable as he was a limited participant in practice on Friday and Saturday.
3. The Knicks secured their 10th home victory on Wednesday night. New York is tied with Boston, San Antonio, Denver, and Utah for the most home wins in the NBA. The Knicks have been dominant at the Mecca with an average margin of victory of 14.3 points. Additionally, New York averages 108.5 points while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 35.6 percent behind the arc while at Madison Square Garden.
4. New York ranks No. 5 in the NBA in assists per game (23.4). Hornacek’s club is adhering to the offensive strategy by sharing the basketball this year and the statistics are evidence of this improvement. Last year, the Knicks finished No. 19 in the NBA.
5. On November 8, Orlando defeated a short-handed New York squad on its home floor, 112-99. Porzingis was not available for the second of the back-to-back and the Magic found success in their frontcourt as Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier combined to score 68 points. Since that contest, Orlando has lost 10 of its last 12 games, which included a nine-game losing skid. The Magic will look to their young forward, Gordon to carry the offensive load, considering he exploded for 40 points against the Thunder two games ago. Orlando enters today’s contest with a 9-14 overall mark and 4-9 on the road.