Knicks keen to increase defensive pressure against magic
The New York Knicks entered the week ranked as one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, but that rating could change.
New York is looking to take another step forward on Wednesday against the visiting Orlando Magic, who have lost three straight games and five of their six.
The Knicks provided a glimpse of their defensive potential in Monday’s 92-84 victory over Indiana, outperforming the Pacers in the fourth quarter 23-10.
“I loved the energy of the team on both sides of the ball,” New York coach Tom Tibodeau said. “I thought we played very defensively, there was a lot of movement in attack and great speed. Playing this way, we will have a great chance of winning.”
Emmanuel Quikley and Kemba Walker each scored 16 points for the Knicks, who finished slipping two games.
Striker Julius Randle averages 20.3 points and 10.4 rebounds, but has scored a total of just 37 points in his last three games while shooting 33.3 percent from the field.
New York may need to play veteran Tag Gibson at the center against Orlando after Mitchell Robinson was knocked out of the game on Monday with a left ankle injury. Backup Nerlens Noel has missed the last three matches due to a sprained right knee.
Gibson was a key part of the Knicks’ bench, which edged out the team’s starting lineup most nights. Derek Rose, Alec Burks, and Obi Tobin have joined forces with Quickley and Gibson to become one of the best second units in the league.
Quickly has missed 22 of his 28 three-pointers this season, but has fired 15 of his last 28 shots from outside the arc. His teammates were impressed by the second-year goalkeeper’s development.
“He has a 10-year-old warrior demeanor,” Gibson said. “You can tell by the way that it comes into play every day. It was built for the NBA. We get frustrated when he doesn’t hit the big ball and that’s how much we believe in him.”
Orlando kicked off a five-game, seven-day road trip on Monday.
Goalkeeper Cole Anthony averages 20.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists to drive magic. Anthony scored his third brace of the season with 29 points and 11 assists in Monday’s 129-111 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Magic lost 11 of their first 14 games but turned in an encouraging outing against Atlanta, leading for most of the first half.
“We’re a young team that won’t take anything from anyone,” Orlando’s Mo Bamba said. “We just want to be a magical team, and win not just for themselves, but for each other. It’s really a domino effect.”
Orlando rookie guard Galen Suggs sat out Monday’s game with a high ankle sprain and is on the daily playlist. Suggs averaged 11.3 points in 28.1 minutes per game.
Veteran Gary Harris started in place of Suggs on Monday and scored eight points in 30 minutes.
Orlando, who defeated the Knicks 110-104 at Madison Square Garden on October 24, ranked 28th in the league with 99.9 points per game.
Rookie striker Franz Wagner was one of the team’s bright spots, averaging 13.4 points while shooting 37.1 percent from a 3-point range.
–Field Media Level