Orlando Magic at New York Knicks Preview
Tonight, the Orlando Magic (28-33) travel to New York to face the Knicks (12-48) in an Eastern Conference matchup.
The Magic currently sit just outside of the Eastern Conference playoffs, fighting with the Hornets and the Heat for the final postseason spot. After a devastating home loss to the Bulls on Friday, the Magic responded with a statement win in Toronto in Sunday to help right the ship. They will look to carry their momentum against a lackluster Knicks team in New York.
The Knicks are losers of 19 of their last 21 games, but come into tonight’s showdown with a bit of positive momentum after winning two of their previous three games. However, they still sit in last place in the Eastern Conference, and they hold the NBA’s second worst record, only sitting ahead of the struggling Phoenix Suns. It will be interesting to see how they perform down the stretch if they want to remain a top contender for the Zion Williamson lottery.
Time: 7:30pm ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Channel: FSFL, MSG
Orlando Magic Starting Lineup
The Magic are right in the thick of the playoff conversation, but they have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the league this year. Coming into the all-star break, Orlando were winners of seven of their previous eight games, beating the likes of the Pacers and Bucks. Then, coming out of the break, they promptly lost to the lowly Bulls at home, before turning around and beating the Raptors in Toronto two days later.
When the Magic play, you’re never quite sure which team will show up. However, they will need to be consistent in order to make the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2012, ending one of the longest droughts in the league. Sitting just outside of the 8th position, the Magic are currently battling Southeastern division foes Charlotte and Miami for the final playoff spot. If they hope to win that battle, winning games against teams like the Knicks will be crucial for the Magic down the stretch.
Early in his Magic career, many fans regarded Terrance Ross as nothing more than an inconsistent, undependable man off the bench, but the veteran marksman has become one of the team’s most consistent players in the second half of the season. Although he still comes off the bench, Ross makes the most of his time on the court, sparking the Magic offense with tenacious play and deadly 3-point shooting. In their most recent victory against the Raptors, Ross contributed 28 points to help secure the win in Toronto, and he will look to carry his momentum into tonight’s contest.
New York Knicks Starting Lineup
|PG||Dennis Smith Jr.|
I think it’s a safe assumption to say that the primary goals for the Knicks for the rest of the season are to develop young talent and lose enough games to guarantee a high pick in June’s NBA draft. The Knicks are in full rebuild mode, trading away their star, Kristaps Porzingis, before the trade deadline in order to clear cap space and acquire future assets. Also included in the deal was second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr.
In Dallas, Smith was a bright spot for the Mavericks before being traded to Knicks, starting over 100 games in a season and a half with the team. While many viewed him as an afterthought in a trade all about Porzingis, Smith could become an important building block for the rebuilding Knicks. Since coming to New York at the beginning of February, Smith has averaged an impressive 16.1 in his first nine games with his new team, including a 31 point outing in just his third game with the Knicks. Hopefully, he will continue to receive big minutes throughout the rest of the season as he continues to improve.
Another bright spot for the Knicks has been Damyean Dotson. A second-year shooting guard out of Houston, Dotson has shown flashes of promises over his NBA career. In Sunday’s win over the Spurs, the Knicks first home win since December 1st, Dotson put up a season high 27 points. Averaging less than 10 points per game this season, Doton has looked impressive as of late, averaging almost 20 points over his last four contests. Like Smith, Dotson should continue to receive big minutes for the struggling Knicks, and he should continue to develop throughout the season.
Orlando Magic at New York Knicks Betting Odds
The Magic have opened up as six point favorites for tonight’s contest in Madison Square Garden. Orlando is an impressive 17-12 ATS on the road this season, while New York has struggled at home, only going 10-19 ATS at home. The Magic have beaten the Knicks by a combined 40 points in the two matchups between the teams this season. The over-under for tonight’s game opened up at 214 points.