|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 PM MST6:00 PM EST3:00 UAE (+1)01:0019:00 ET6:00 PM CT22:00 , April 3, 2019
Amway Center, Orlando, Florida Attendance: 18,846
Magic face Knicks in must-win game
New York Knicks at Orlando Magic
- The Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak against the Magic with a 108-103 victory in New York on February 26. Since the start of the 2015-16 season, the Knicks are 5-1 against the Magic in games played after February 1 and 1-7 in games played from October through January.
- The Knicks beat the Bulls, 113-105, in New York on Monday to snap a six-game losing streak. New York has won back-to-back games only once since December 1, the second win being the aforementioned victory over the Magic.
- The Magic fell to the Raptors, 121-109, in Toronto on Monday, finishing their road trip at 2-2. Orlando has won seven straight and 11 of their last 12 home games. The Magic had not won seven straight at home since the 2010-11 season
- Luke Kornet scored a career-high 24 points in the win over the Bulls. He has started the last two games, making five three-pointers and grabbing at least five rebounds in each. The previous two Knicks to do so in back-to-back games of a season were J.R. Smith (February 2013) and Carmelo Anthony (April 2011).
- Against Toronto, Evan Fournier led the Magic with 21 points on 8-for-16 shooting, his 28th game shooting 50.0-plus percent on 10-plus attempts this season. Fournier joins Tracy McGrady (2001-02), Aaron Afflalo (2013-14) and Elfrid Payton (2017-18) as Magic guards with as many such games in the past 20 seasons.
- The Knicks have lost five straight road games. New York has not reached 100 points in any of the five while its opponents have reached 100 points in each one. The only other time the Knicks have had a streak of five such games in a single season was in 1984-85, the year before they drafted Patrick Ewing.
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The Orlando Magic, locked in a tight battle for an Eastern Conference playoff spot, won't get an easier opportunity in their final four games than the one they have at home against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
The Knicks (15-62) have the worst record in the NBA and are one of three teams headed to have the best lottery odds -- 14 percent -- of landing the top pick in the draft.
But here's the catch: The Knicks beat Orlando in the teams' most recent meeting, 108-103 on Feb. 26 in New York.
"We've got to pick it up, especially defending our home court," Orlando forward Aaron Gordon said on NBA.com. "That's our mindset, getting our minds right for that next game and hopefully being better on defense."
The Magic (38-40) are a half-game back of Miami (38-39) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, a game behind Brooklyn (39-39) and 1 1/2 games in back of Detroit (39-38).
Orlando is coming off a four-game road trip in which it went 2-2, capped by a 121-109 loss to Toronto on Monday. The Magic had won seven of their eight previous games.
Orlando was able to inch closer in the postseason race last month thanks to its defense. It was the NBA's fourth-stingiest team in March (104.9 points per game allowed) and led the league in opponent's 3-point shooting (31.8 percent).
But the Magic have allowed an average of 117.3 points in their past three games, and Toronto drained 19 of 37 from 3-point range.
"We've got to get into the defense like we were before and that's why we're in this (playoff) position," coach Steve Clifford said in Monday's postgame press conference. "If we don't (improve defensively), it's going to be disappointment again on Wednesday. We've got to defend."
Orlando finishes its home schedule on Friday against Atlanta, before wrapping up with road games at Boston and Charlotte.
Stopping the Knicks should be easier than putting the brakes on the Raptors. New York is third-worst in the league in scoring at 104.9 points per game. They ended a six-game skid with a 113-105 home win against the Chicago Bulls on Monday but had failed to reach 100 points in nine of the previous 12 games.
Rookie center Mitchell Robinson celebrated his 21st birthday with 14 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks against the Bulls. He has blocked at least two shots in 25 consecutive games, tying David Robinson for the second-longest streak among NBA rookies.
Knicks coach David Fizdale is giving longer looks to Robinson and another 7-foot-1 post -- Luke Kornet -- for the rest of the season. Kornet, a second-year player out of Vanderbilt, scored a career-high 24 points on Monday night, making 8 of 11 shots from the field, including 5 of 7 from behind the arc.
Meanwhile, starting big man DeAndre Jordan (11.0 points, 13.1 rebounds per game) has not played in the past two games.
Kornet also had six rebounds and three blocks on Monday night.
"It's always valuable to get on the court," Kornet said in the New York Daily News. "I feel like the only time you can improve is to play in the games. Every single minute is valuable."
--Field Level Media
Updated April 2, 2019