Knicks vs. Magic Preview: How, Who to Watch in Current Playoff Matchup


The New York Knicks play the Orlando Magic in a very important game. If the season ended today, they would play the Magic in the first round.  

The New York Knicks have played some of the toughest teams in the NBA this season. But one opponent has been especially annoying, if not in the right way.  

Orlando is one of three teams to win at least three games versus New York this season, along with Eastern Conference leaders the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks.  

When the Knicks begin their homestand at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, they will have one final opportunity to win against the Magic. This will be their final chance to do so. 

Orlando beat the Knicks to earn the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs by winning seven of eight and five in a row to create the NBA's longest active winning streak.   

Recently, the Magic were able to defeat Charlotte and Washington in consecutive games, both of which were played against competition that was below average. The victories came on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.  

After losing the first game of this active four-game homestand on Tuesday to the Atlanta Hawks 116-100, the Knicks are looking to get back on track.  

Jalen Brunson was held out after leaving Sunday's win in Cleveland early with a knee injury. Brunson is doubtful on Friday's injury report.  

If the Orlando Magic are victorious over the New York Knicks on Friday, they will acquire their first four-game sweep of the Manhattan area since the 2001-2002 season.  

The Knicks have won an NBA-best 46 board battles despite losing Mitchell Robinson. The Knicks are 4-12 in 16 rebounding games where they tie or lose (they were minus-11 against Atlanta on Tuesday).  

Three of those were against the Magic, who had four players bringing in five a game. In the midst of several injuries.

Hart's rise to the starting five and summer five-year contract are due to his dedication to the Knicks. During the past 16, he averaged over 10. He must be a great substitute for the Knicks to win.  

Orlando hasn't been prime bait for the Association's national television partners, but Banchero is living up to his first selection hype and more.   

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