The Knicks hit a franchise-record 24 three-pointers en route to a 121-96 rout of a young Orlando Magic team Friday night at the Amway Center.
Eight different players made at least one three-pointer as the Knicks are off to a 2-0 start for the first time in nine years. The Knicks’ first five field goals came from downtown, setting the tone for the record-breaking night.
The 24 three-point shots made broke their previous record of 20, which they did thrice (2011, 2013, and 2018), while the 54 attempts also eclipsed the 51 they threw up in a quadruple overtime loss to Atlanta Hawks on January 29, 2017.
They also made 24 3s in a preseason win against the Washington Wizards two weeks ago. This time, the Knicks made it official.
â€œI think itâ€™s a reflection of the team playing for each other and just making the right play,â€ Thibodeau said. â€œWe talked about it a lot of wanting to shoot more 3s, but we want them to be the right 3s. When the second defender comes, guys are making the right read.â€
The Magic had no answer to the Knicks’ vaunted offense, which kept on poking holes in their porous defense.
The Knicks had a smooth sailing save for a Mitchell Robinson injury scare and a Julius Randle technical foul.
Robinson clutched his hamstring before Kemba Walker replaced him with 4:19 to go in the third quarter. But the 23-year old Knicks center, who was playing in his third game back from a fractured foot injury, returned to play five more minutes in the fourth quarter.
“It should be fine,” Thibodeau’s curt reply when asked about Robinson’s hamstring.
Randle flirted with a triple-double (21 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals) before a technical foul forced Thibodeau to take him out with 4:28 left and the Knicks leading by 32.
Randle shoved Orlando’s Wendell Carter, Jr. after the Magic forward knocked him down in a fastbreak play.
“The one thing that I could assure you is that if I play [Randle] too much, you’ll gonna let me know. If I don’t play him enough, you’ll gonna let me know. And the one thing I know for certain it’s never the right amount,” said a smiling Thibodeau eliciting laughter from the reporters.
Walker went 3-for-3 from downtown in the first stanza, where the Knicks seized a 20-point lead that swelled to as large as 34 in the second half. He wound up with 11 points while his fellow newcomer and former Magic Evan Fournier continued his red-hot shooting with four three-pointers and 18 points.
Obi Toppin picked up from where he left off. The sophomore forward scored 13 points — from fastbreak slams to corner three-pointers — in 24 minutes that electrified the large Knicks crowd who showed up in Orlando.
Veteran guards Derrick Rose and Alec Burks also came off the bench and kept the ball moving. They produced identical numbers — 12 points and seven assists off the bench. The Knicks recorded 34 assists on a staggering 50 percent (44-of-88) shooting from the field.
They will aim to keep their perfect start when the Magic visit them at the Garden on Sunday for a rematch at 7 p.m.
After a quiet season opener, Immanuel Quickley came off the bench and joined the three-point party. Quickley finished with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, including 4-for-8 from beyond the arc.
“Everybody loves playing for each other,” Quickley said. “Everybody can make plays. We can all shoot, dribble, pass and we play for each other. That’s the Knicks culture. — play for each other, play hard every night and that’s gonna get the job done.”
So far, job well done.
Welcome to the new era of Knicks basketball.
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