The New York Knicks are preparing to take on the Orlando Magic for the second consecutive game after demolishing them down south on Friday evening. The Knicks showcased their scoring prowess and defensive intensity against Orlando, limiting them to just 96 points while New York tallied 121.
Thanks to the combination of Julius Randle and Evan Fournier once again, who combined for 39 points, the team is off to a hot start. However, the impressive win allowed head coach Tom Thibodeau to get some of his younger players a few minutes toward the end, as Immanuel Quickley enjoyed 20 minutes on the floor, scoring 16 points. Quentin Grimes logged five minutes, hitting one 3-PT shot, and even Miles McBride got on the floor.
This should be another walk in the park for the Knicks against Orlando, so letâ€™s take a look at how they can walk away with another victory.
Three keys to beating Orlando for the Knicks:
1.) Limit Mo Bamba
The Knicks did a great job limiting Mo Bamba in the victory on Friday, as he scored 15 points and recorded 10 rebounds. He managed to connect on 3-of-5 shots from range, but his defensive qualities were put on the back burner as the Knicks completely tormented him in the paint with more aggressive bodies. Bamba was unable to stop Julius Randle all game, so his 15 points were negated by -8 +/-.
As long as they can continue to attack Bamba in the paint, the Knicks can easily create a nice cushion early on.
2.) Knock down 3-PT shots efficiently
The Knicks set a franchise record against Orlando, knocking down 24 three-point shots. The previous record was 20, as they connected on 44.4% of their attempts. While their free throws hovered at 52.9%, a disappointing number that Thibodeau indeed hit on after the game, they proved to be incredibly efficient from deep.
The additions of Fournier and Kemba Walker will provide immediate upticks in that category. Fournier shot over 50% from three over nine attempts, showcasing what he brings to the team.
Thibodeau hit on the desire to increase their three-point attempts this off-season but not take risky shots for the sake of it. The Knicks have curated good looks at the basket, and the stats reflect that.
3.) Play Knicks defense
The Knicks started off the season struggling defensively, but they turned things around entirely against Orlando. Through two games, they rank 11th in defensive efficiency and 4th in defensive rebounds. Theyâ€™re also top 10 in steals and blocks, showing how individual statistics are piling on as the Knicks maintain quality defense.
Considering they are currently without Nerlens Noel and depending on Mitchell Robinson to pick up the slack despite his lack of stamina, it’s impressive to see how dominant the Knicks have been on the boards. Robinson is already averaging 13 rebounds per game this season and 8.5 points, and the expectations are that he will get better and better as the year progresses.
The Knicks’ sleight-of-hand has also been on display, getting into passing lanes and pre-determining where the opposition is going with the ball. If they continue to play at this level of confidence and build the chemistry and communication, the Knicks will be a tough team to beat.