Vucevic, Ross help Magic hold off Knicks 114-100
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 04, 2019 09:43 AM
Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic, left, makes a move to get to the basket against New York Knicks' Mitchell Robinson during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, April 3, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
By Bill Fay, Associated Press
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Nikola Vucevic had 29 points and 13 rebounds and Terrence Ross scored 23 points off the bench as the Orlando Magic beat the New York Knicks 114-100 Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time).
Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon had 19 points apiece for Orlando, which is chasing Miami for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Mario Hezonja scored 22 of his 29 points in the second half for New York. Kevin Knox scored 21 points and Emmanuel Mudiay had 13 points and 10 assists for the Knicks, who have lost 7-of-8.
New York cut a 13-point halftime deficit to two points late in the third quarter, but Ross singlehandedly stopped the rally with three straight three-pointers that gave Orlando an 85-74 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Hezonja helped New York get as close as 93-86 in the fourth quarter, but the Knicks didn't have enough firepower to sustain the rally.
Orlando used a pair of three-pointers from Gordon to stop two New York runs, and the Magic needed only one field goal in the final four minutes to comfortably close out the game.
Orlando led 58-45 at halftime, but lacked energy at the defensive end at the start the second half. Hezonja, a first-round pick by Orlando in 2015, scored eight straight points and 12 in the quarter to help the Knicks cut the deficit to 76-74 with 1:23 left in the quarter.
That's when Ross stepped in and quickly turned things around. He hit three triples, the last crashing through the net with one-tenth of a second left in the period, giving Orlando an 85-74 lead.
The Magic went right at Knicks center Mitchell Robinson, who had 15 blocks in two games against Orlando earlier this season.
Vucevic successfully challenged Robinson in the post and Fournier drove right at him from the perimeter throughout the first half. Vucevic had 17 points and Fourner 16 to help Orlando to a 58-45 advantage.
Knicks: Hezonja replaced Luke Kornet in the starting lineup. Kornet scored 41 points, had 14 rebounds and six blocks as a starter the previous two games. . The Knicks were just 1-for-12 on three-pointers in the first half.
Magic: Orlando has allowed its last three opponents to shoot 50.7 percent (132-of-260) from the field, including 45-of-96 (46.9 from three-point territory. The Knicks shot only 22.2 percent (6-of-27) against Orlando. . Ross, who hit just 10-of-36 (27.7 percent) of his three-pointers in the last five games, hit 5-of-10 against New York.
Knicks: At Houston on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).
Magic: Host Atlanta on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time).