It was a blue-out at Amway Arena on Tuesday night; not because of the empty seats in the arena but because the Knicks were in town. Around 18,846 transplanted New Yorkers filled Amway Arena and boldly shouted, “Let’s go Knicks,” giving the Knicks an unexpected home-court advantage.
One Magic season ticket holder for 10 years, who comes from Queens New York, said: “I’ve been a season ticket holder for the past 10 years and when the Knicks come to town, it is always a special occasion. I would say about 60 percent of the fans that attend the Knicks and Magic games are Knicks fans.”
For three quarters, the NBA’s lone unbeaten squad was just one point better than the shorthanded Magic until their stamina and veteran leadership took over at Amway Center. It’s only the third time in Knicks history that they’ve started 5-0 (1969-70 and 1993-94 were the other two).
Carmelo Anthony made a key defensive play early in the fourth on Glen Davis, got hot from the field and finished with 25 points.
“We tried to get a home run early,” Anthony said. “We were trying to win the game all in a couple of plays. Then in the third quarter we settled down. We buckled down, holding them to one shot or not even a shot”.
Anthony has thrived at power forward this season holding season averages of 26.8, 7.4 rebounds, and a 27.3 PER.
“I like that play, that physical stuff,’’ said Anthony. “Sometimes down there, I’m just trying to hold my ground, playing against a guy like Big Baby, 40 to 50 pounds heavier than me. It’s a matter of fighting him before he gets the ball and using my quickness.”
The game against the Magic was the first of a three-game road trip that continues Thursday in San Antonio and concludes Friday in Memphis.
“It’s only five games into the season,” Anthony said. “I’ve been saying the whole time we’re going to take it one game at a time and enjoy it. As long as we’re having fun playing basketball, whether we win or lose, we can accept it.”
The Magic, who started the season with an impressive 2-0 record, has expectedly fallen back to the bleak grim of their reality of being a contender for the NBA lottery. They are losers of five straight and has fallen to 2-5 on the young NBA season.
Their shortcomings aren’t surprising; injuries have limited Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu to a combined two games this season. They rank 29th in points only averaging 88.00 PPG and 23rd in defensive rebounds.
However, it is not too late for the Magic to get back on track. Yes, they must get healthy, but being more committed on the defensive end of the court and playing with a sense of urgency will help turn this young team in the right direction.