NBA: Magic hold off Knicks’ second-half rally
Paolo Banchero scored 21 points Thursday night for the host Orlando Magic, who squandered a 19-point third-quarter lead but held off the New York Knicks to earn a 111-106 win.
Cole Anthony had 18 points off the bench for the Magic (31-43), who have won three of four to move within four games of the Chicago Bulls in the race for the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference.
Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner each scored 16 points while Moritz Wagner added 11 and Markelle Fultz finished with 10.
Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley scored 25 points each for the Knicks (42-33), who lost their third straight. Fifth-place New York entered Thursday two games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat, who were in a virtual tie for the sixth and final guaranteed playoff spot.
Julius Randle had 23 points and RJ Barrett added 10 points for the Knicks, who scratched point guard Jalen Brunson due to a sore right hand.
"Great team win."
postgame @The_ColeAnthony 🍿 pic.twitter.com/XhMneKNQTx
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) March 24, 2023
The Magic led by seven and the Knicks led by four in the first quarter, which ended with Franz Wagner hitting a layup at the buzzer to give Orlando a 24-22 lead.
That basket began a 24-5 run for the Magic, who ended the surge with 16 unanswered points. Fultz’s layup concluded the outburst and gave Orlando its biggest first-half lead at 46-27. The Knicks ended the half on an 18-7 run to pull within 53-45.
The Magic opened the third quarter on a 16-5 run and took their biggest lead at 69-50 on Carter’s layup with 7:49 left. The Knicks scored the next 11 points to begin a quarter-ending 25-6 surge. Grimes had 12 points in the run, which ended with Quickley sinking a pair of free throws with four seconds left to tie the game at 75-75.
Barrett missed a potential go-ahead jumper 20 seconds into the fourth and Franz Wagner responded with a layup to give the Magic the lead for good. Orlando expanded the lead to eight five times but the Knicks inched back every time and cut the gap to 109-106 on Josh Hart’s 3-pointer with 13.5 seconds left.
Following a Magic timeout, Banchero sank a pair of free throws with 7.4 seconds left. Randle then missed a 3-pointer.
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