Brunson scores 25, late basket lifts Knicks over Magic
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Jalen Brunson scored 25 points and made the go-ahead basket with 1:13 left, Julius Randle had 22 points and 14 rebounds and the New York Knicks beat the Orlando Magic 102-98 Tuesday night.
Brunson’s running bank shot put the Knicks up for good at 94-93 in a game they played almost entirely from behind. He then fed Jericho Sims for a dunk and a three-point lead with 40 seconds left.
“We keep putting ourselves in this position of coming back from deficits,” said Brunson, who had 10 points and two assists in the fourth quarter. “On the flip side of that we kept fighting, but we've got to start games better.”
The teams combined to shoot 10 free throws in the final 7.7 seconds. The only miss was by Orlando's Paolo Banchero, who intentionally tried to set up a tying basket with 2.3 seconds remaining.
Markelle Fultz led the Magic with 21 points. Franz Wagner added 18 points and Banchero finished with 16 points after being held to four in the first half.
“Every possession matters and I think we got good experience of that tonight,” Fultz said. “We came up short but I'm happy with the way we fought. A couple of things cost us down he stretch.”
According to Magic coach Jamahl Mosley, those things were “shooting 6 for 25 (3-pointers), missing a couple of free throws, and giving up 11 offensive rebounds.”
Immanuel Quickley came off the New York bench with 18 points.
Wagner made his first five shots, two of them on a 10-0 run that gave Orlando a 12-point lead midway through the second quarter, the largest lead for either team.
“We started off in a hole and we fought out of the hole," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeaux said. “I thought in the second half we were a lot better, and I thought in the fourth quarter we were very good.”
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Randle erased most of that lead, but the Knicks went scoreless for the final 2:20 of the first half and fell behind 48-40.
Two baskets by Quickley helped New York close the third quarter on a 7-0 run, and when Randle and Quickly opened the fourth quarter with 3s, the Knicks had their first lead since 2-0. They scored 36 in the fourth quarter, shooting 12 for 19 (63.2%).
“I thought Julius and Jalen set the tone in the fourth quarter. Just the way we closed - big rebounds, physicality, hustle plays,” Thibodeaux said.
“That’s what it came down to in the end,” Randle said. “We made our free throws, got rebounds and didn’t turn the ball over.”
Knicks: F RJ Barrett, who did not play Sunday due to illness, started and played 35 minutes. He missed nine of his first 10 shots but finished with 15 points. . . . C Mitchell Robinson missed his 10th game after having surgery on a fractured right thumb. ... C Isaiah Hartenstein had five fouls in 13 minutes. Brunson and Barrett also finished with five fouls.
Magic: The home crowd of 19,438 was the third-largest in Magic history. ... C Mo Bamba sat out the second game of a four-game suspension for his involvement in an altercation at Minnesota on Friday night. ...F Chuma Okeke, out since late November with a knee injury, has been assigned to Lakeland of the G League.
Playing their final game before Thursday's trade deadline, the Knicks didn't seem to be in the mood for changes.
“Our job is to show up and play basketball and let the front office deal with those situations,” Brunson said. “But I love my teammates. The relationships I’ve made in the last couple of months have been special, and that’s all I can say.”
Said Thibodeaux: “I love our team. We know we have a and we have a lot of young players that are going to get better as time goes on. I’ve been around a long time and for every 100 trades they talk about, one gets done. So it’s just noise.”
Knicks: Play at Philadelphia on Friday night.
Magic: Home against Denver on Thursday night.
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