New York is coming off of a dramatic and emphatic win over the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. The Knicks came back from 21 points down to beat the Sixers and get within a half game of the Miami Heat for sixth place in the eastern conference.
Orlando have won their last two games over the Charlotte Hornets and Minnesota Timberwolves. The latter of which was remembered for a brawl started by New York native Mo Bamba and former Duke star Austin Rivers who is also the son of Sixers coach Doc Rivers.
Bamba is listed as out for this game along with Chuma Okeke for the Magic. RJ Barrett is day-to-day for the Knicks and Mitchell Robinson continues to be out as well. Jalen Suggs is scheduled to return after serving his one game suspension for his involvement in the brawl.
The Magic have won six of their last 10 games and are certainly in a better place compared to when the Knicks last faced Orlando back in October. New York defeated the Magic on Oct. 24 at MSG 115-102 in their first meeting of the season.
Orlando certainly isn’t in any playoff conversation, but they are winning games more consistently and young stars like Paolo Banchero, Wendell Carter Jr. and Gary Harris are all big contributors for this up and coming team.
The Knicks just finished one of their toughest stretches of the schedule and after playing nine of the toughest teams in the league, they need to keep the intensity high even against the teams that are lower in the pecking order. New York went 4-5 during that stretch and picked up impressive wins over the Celtics, Cavs, Heat and Sixers.
I think the Knicks will win this game. This is a classic trap game, but New York will have a lot of confidence coming off of their recent stretch of games. They have battled through injuries to stay right in the thick of the eastern conference playoff race and if they can keep that same level of focus in this game they will win it. It goes without saying that this game is important because if results elsewhere go their way the Knicks will move into the six spot in the east. We will see if New York can continue their winning ways after a tough stretch of games.