Advertisement

Brunson returns with 26 points to help Knicks snap Magic's 5-game win streak with 98-74 rout

NEW YORK (AP) — With three losses already to the Orlando Magic this season and a playoff meeting potentially ahead, perhaps the New York Knicks were trying to send a statement Friday night.

“You could feel the intensity from the tip from them,” Orlando's Paolo Banchero said.

And the Knicks didn't stop until they had turned in the most dominant defensive effort in the NBA this season.

Jalen Brunson scored 26 points in his return from a bruised left knee and the Knicks rode a sizzling start from 3-point range to a 98-74 victory that snapped the Magic's five-game winning streak.

The Knicks missed Brunson in a loss to Atlanta on Tuesday, then barely missed at all in the early going with him back. New York started 8 for 9 from behind the arc in a game it never trailed.

New York held Orlando to the lowest points total in the NBA this season and the fewest the Knicks had allowed in a game since April 13, 2012. The Magic shot just 34%.

“Being short-handed right now, we have to do it with our defense and our rebounding and keep the turnovers down,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And so when we fly around and work together like that and we have the type of activity that we did, that gives us a chance to win.”

Josh Hart added 19 points and Precious Achiuwa had 15 points, 14 rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots for the Knicks, who won for just the fourth time in the last 12 games as they battle injuries to multiple starters. But this victory was enough to push them back ahead of Orlando into fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Banchero had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Magic, who lost for just the second time in 10 games. They were missing starting guard Jalen Suggs because of a bruised right thigh.

Orlando had won all three previous meetings, but never had a chance in its attempt for the season sweep.

The Knicks needed barely four minutes to take a double-digit lead and were up 18-6 midway through the first quarter on Brunson’s 3-pointer. They were ahead 31-23 at the end of the period after going 6 for 7 behind the arc.

That became an 8-for-9 start after Donte DiVincenzo and Bojan Bogdanovic hit from behind the arc early in the second. Orlando was within 46-39 with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the half before Brunson hit another 3 to start a 9-0 run that made it 55-39 at the break.

“We knew that they’ve had our number and you’ve got to respect them,” Brunson said.

“We just knew we had to come ready to play.”

Back-to-back 3s by DiVincenzo and Deuce McBride — who was fouled while making his — made it 78-52 in the third quarter, the Knicks' largest lead.

The Knicks have been missing their starting frontcourt of Julius Randle, OG Anunoby and Mitchell Robinson for a while, then had to go without Brunson on Tuesday after he was hurt in the opening minute of a victory at Cleveland on Sunday.

Brunson could be rejoined in the lineup soon by Anunoby, who has returned to practice after right elbow surgery but hasn't been cleared yet for games.

McBride finished with 14 points and made all three 3-pointers. The Knicks finished 16 for 33 (48.5%).

UP NEXT

Magic: Host Indiana on Sunday.

Knicks: Host Philadelphia on Sunday in the opener of a two-game series.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA