The New York Knicks dropped an inexcusable game to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday evening, providing them with just their fourth win of the season. The Knicks now sit at 8â€“7 on the year and have won only three games at home out of eight contests.
The starting unit has struggled lately, and that trend did not change against Orlando, as the only player to record a positive +/- was Mitchell Robinson, who scored 13 points and recorded 11 rebounds. Power forward Julius Randle was awful on defense, contributing 13 points and turning the ball over three times. Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier combined for 10 points over 42 minutes; simply disgraceful given how much the Knicks invested in them this off-season has free-agent acquisitions.
While RJ Barrett connected on 7-of-19 shots from the field, he missed all seven attempts from three-point range, heaving up an unsuccessful shot with seconds left that careened off the side of the rim.
The consistent bad performances from the starting unit have become a significant problem for the Knicks, who have had to rely on their second team to pick up the slack. Unfortunately, the reserves were unable to compensate for the lack of starting efficiency, despite Obi Toppin contributing 14 points and hitting 2-of-3 shots from deep. Immanuel Quickley recorded just six points, his lowest mark in the last five games over 24 minutes. Alec Burks shot 12 three-point attempts, connecting on four, contributing 15 points. Only Toppin and Robinson landed in the positive categories, as awful defense plagued the team throughout.
Losing to the Magic for the second time this season should be a serious wake-up call for the Knicks, who allowed every starter to score double digit points, including a game-high 19 points from Terrence Ross off at the bench.
Oddly, the Knicks have been poor at MSG, which is exactly the opposite of what most expected heading into the season. Whether it be too much pressure or a lack of chemistry, the Knicks need to find a solution for their starting unit quickly — the lack of chemistry and fluidity between Walker, Randle, and Fournier is almost unwatchable.