Magic end two-game losing streak with 112-99 win over Knicks
FILE - PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 17: Aaron Gordon #00 of the Orlando Magic goes to the basket against the Phoenix Suns on March 17, 2017 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Terrance Harris, Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Nikola Vucevic scored 24 points and Evan Fournier added 23 to help the Orlando Magic beat the New York Knicks 112-99 on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
Jonathon Simmons scored 15 of his 16 points in the second half. He had 11 straight points early in the fourth quarter to push the Magic's lead back to double figures.
The Magic, benefiting from the return of starting point guard Elfrid Payton, snapped a two-game losing streak. New York, playing without scoring Kristaps Porzingis (ankle and elbow injuries), had its three-game winning streak come to an end.
With Porzingis out, Tim Hardaway, Jr. was the Knicks' only consistent scoring threat, and had 26 points.
The Knicks entered the game having won six of their last seven games, but they seemed out of synch offensively without Porzingis. They shot 53 percent from the field but committed 23 turnovers.
Orlando, meanwhile, got its offensive rhythm back with Payton in the game. The Magic shot 54 percent from the field and 46 from three-point range mainly on the strength of spacing with Payton on the floor.
Payton was a stabilizer in his return from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss eight straight games, finishing with 11 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in 29 minutes.
Aaron Gordon also came through for the Magic with 21 points. He was 4-for-6 from three-point range and 8-for-11 from field after a few signature alley-oop passes from Payton.
Knicks: Forward Michael Beasley started in place of injured Porzingis. Beasley scored four points. ... Point guard Jarrett Jack converted 3-of-4 field goals in the first half and had four assists but he also had four turnovers.
Magic: Fournier had five steals in the first half and was a major reason the Magic outscored the Knicks on fast break points 14-0 during the first two quarters. For the game, the Magic outscored the Knicks 21-4 on fast breaks. ... Orlando outscored the Knicks in paint 30-18 in the first half.
Knicks: Hosts Sacramento on Saturday night (Sunday, PHL time).
Magic: At Phoenix on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).