knicks magic
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks lose their first game of the season as their recent hot streak from beyond the arc ends.

Danny Small

All good things must come to an end, including undefeated seasons. The New York Knicks split a home-and-home series with the Orlando Magic over the weekend.

A rowdy Madison Square Garden crowd was quieted in the fourth quarter by New York native Cole Anthony and resident Knick-killer Terrence Ross. Anthony came within two assists of an impressive triple-double, racking up 29 points and 16 rebounds. As for Ross, he poured in 22 fourth-quarter points to help steal this win on the road.

Orlando outscored New York 30-16 in the fourth quarter. This loss will take some shine off of an otherwise impressive first week of the season. When the Knicks win, it’s generally a team effort. The same can be said in losses.

Julius Randle‘s stat line might fool box-score watchers into thinking he was his same old self. His 28 points, 15 rebounds, two steals, and four blocks were all team highs. But he was pressing too hard, only shooting 7-for-23 from the floor and 2-for-10 from deep.

RJ Barrett is still trying to figure out where he fits into the offense and those growing pains showed on Sunday night. He followed Randle’s lead with woeful shooting numbers of his own (5-for-17 FG, 1-for-7 3PT).

Off the bench, Derrick Rose did his part, but that was about it. Outside of Rose’s 23 points, the Knicks only managed to score 11 off the bench combined from Taj Gibson, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, and Alec Burks.

New York’s new pace-and-space offense will generate easier looks, but connecting on those opportunities is half the battle. The Knicks lost that battle on Sunday.

This game was within reach, but they couldn’t overcome a dreadful shooting night. The Knicks were 41-for-99 (41.4%) on three-pointers in their first two games. The well ran dry on Sunday. New York was a paltry 13-for-48 (27.1%) from deep and 17-for-25 (68%) from the charity stripe.

The three-point shooting was a wash considering the fact that Orlando was 12-for-43 (27.9%) on threes, but the difference was at the free-throw line. The Magic hit 26 of their 34 free throws.

That nine-point free-throw differential was the game within the game, as they say. It could be a 12-year-old rec league or the NBA, free throws are often the difference between winning and losing.

Other Knicks Notes

  • Taj Gibson returned from paternity leave to make his season debut, tallying four rebounds and an assist in 12 minutes of action.
  • Immanuel Quickley came back down to Earth after a 16-point performance in Orlando. IQ finished the game with 0 points in 12 minutes.
  • This was Magic coach Jamahl Mosley’s first official win as an NBA head coach. Mosley won a game while filling in for Rick Carlisle as Mavericks head coach in 2020-21, but it did not count as an official game since he was only filling in.
  • The Knicks will host the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET)