Bench Failure: Magic Outhustle Knicks 100-91

AP Photo/John Raoux

ORLANDO — We need to stay out of Florida for the foreseeable future. After dropping a turd of a performance on Monday against the Heat, I swore the team would get it together on pride alone for the Magic last night. Instead, we pretty much equaled Monday’s futility with horrid shooting from the field (37%) and sheer ineptitude from the bench.

The Magic didn’t shoot well either during the first half, but they put together a key run in the second to go up by double digits at halftime, 46-35. By the time we started hitting shots, scoring 28 points in both the third and fourth quarters, the Magic got by on getting to the line (27-32 FT) to win comfortably.

Speaking of the fouls, the Knicks were on the wrong side on many questionable ones. Jason Smith were very physical with Porzingis to the point of knocking him down and standing over him while talking trash. That move prompted Melo to get right in his face and that put an end to the nonsense. However, Smith didn’t get a tech for his behavior while Melo got one later for mouthing off.

Speaking of Melo, he and Calderon were the only ones that had strong offensive games. Melo dropped 28 points (9/17) and grabbed 13 boards. Calderon had his best scoring output as a Knick with 23 points on 50% shooting.

Four of the five starters hit double figures, but the bench failed again to keep the team in position to win. They were outscored 43-12 by Orlando’s reserves, mostly due to Victor Oladipo dropping 24 points. Some of the blame there needs to be placed on Derek Fisher’s bad rotations. Some of the lineups, like ones featuring Seraphin, O’Quinn, Thomas, Vujacic and Grant made you wonder who was supposed to score. Inevitably, lineups like that allowed Magic to stretch their leads.

Once again, a bad game from Porzingis was still productive. The Latvian rookie had 10 points (3/13 FG), 8 rebounds and 6 blocks. His best highlight was one of those blocks turning back an Oladipo dunk. His challenge in these type of games is continuing to look for smart shots over forcing it.

Fisher better be using this Thanksgiving to get his rotations together for a revenge game on Black Friday against the Heat.

Published by

Ismael AbduSalaam

Ismael AbduSalaam is an Atlanta-based writer specializing in music, sports and film journalism. He is the creator of the sports and entertainment site He can be reached at @Ismael_BBM_NYK.

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