The Magic got to spend three days in the New York area and had two chances to get big wins against two good opponents. Each game, Orlando did a lot of things right and had a fantastic opportunity to score the two wins.
Unfortunately, there just was not enough of the good for 48 minutes and the team's depth and inability to keep things going with the bench players in. And the talent is probably not up to the level of the Knicks and Nets.
New York in the second half just took control of the game and proved itself to be the better team. Tyson Chandler was aggressively rolling to the rim as Orlando struggled to shut off penetration from Raymond Felton and Carmelo Anthony. Chandler was ever-present on defense, helping suffocate Jameer Nelson offensively after he went off int he first half.
More than that, the Knicks could not be stopped offensively. They hit seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to expand a six-point lead into a 113-97 victory at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
The news got worse for the Magic after the game when Jacque Vaughn informed the media that Glen Davis broke his left foot in the first quarter and was sent back to Orlando for further evaluation. Davis will certainly miss an extended amount of time with that injury.
So the hits keep coming as Orlando suffered its 18th loss in the past 20 games.
Again, this was a game where the Magic played pretty well. J.J. Redick and Jameer Nelson were getting whatever they wanted in the first half and making shots at will. Redick finished with 29 points, hitting 9 of his 14 shots, and Nelson had 21 points. Nelson particularly was dominating Raymond Felton and finding his way into the paint at will like it was the 2010 Playoffs against Felton's Bobcats.
That kind of offense is most likely not sustainable. But the Magic kept at it and kept making this a game.
Orlando shot 49.4 percent from the floor and just continued to fight and fight and fight to stay in this game. Eventually the team ran out of gas, to be honest. The effort was always there, just not the ability.
In the second quarter, Ish Smith and E'Twaun Moore helped the Magic keep pace with the Knicks and keep the game close. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the second unit could not match the effort from the first half. The Knicks quickly expanded the third quarter lead and had it in double digits by the time Jacque Vaughn could reload with Jameer Nelson, Nikola Vucevic and J.J. Redick.
Again, it was not like they were not playing poorly. The Knicks were just clearly the more talented team and were executing at a much higher level. Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire were running at the rim as the team struggled to keep Felton and Pablo Prigioni out of the paint initiating the offense.
Orlando's offense lost some of its aggression with New York hedging hard to keep Nelson from turning the corner and tearing apart the New York defense. The Magic could not make that similar adjustment to slow down the Knicks' offense.
And so Orlando had some positive, but a lot more negative. Close is no cigar, as they say. And this road trip is proving to be another bump in the road as the Magic continue to tumble down the standings.