Nikola Vucevic scored 34 points - eight straight in a decisive 10-0 fourth-quarter run - and the Orlando Magic beat the New York Knicks 105-100 on Sunday.
With the score tied at 85 midway through the fourth quarter, Vucevic made a short basket, a three-point play and a 3-point shot in succession to give the Magic the lead for good.
Evan Fournier had 20 points, Jonathon Simmons added 16, and Elfrid Payton had 15 for Orlando.
Michael Beasley, who replaced the injured Kristaps Porzingis in the starting lineup, led the Knicks with 21 points. Courtney Lee had 19, and Enes Kanter added 18 points and 16 rebounds.
KOQ beats the ⏰ pic.twitter.com/UgrcAQGSHp- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 3, 2017
The Knicks used an 11-4 run to pull within three at 99-96 on Jarrett Jack's 3-pointer with 27 seconds left. Fournier then hit two free throws with 23 seconds remaining, and Jack followed with a reverse layup with 16 second left.
Fournier again connected on two free throws, this time with 13 seconds left. >> Read more
Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press
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Without both Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr., it was going to be difficult for the Knicks to win, even against the lowly Magic, who had lost 10 of their previous 11 games. The Knicks struggled early in this game and then played strong, especially in the third quarter. They just didn't have enough on the offensive end down the stretch to find a way to win. Beasley clearly was out of gas late in this game, despite leading the Knicks with 21 points. While Kanter recorded 18 points and 16 boards, he had as tough of a matchup as he will get in trying to stop Vucevic, who finished with 34 points.
It's very concerning that the Knicks just can't stay healthy. It is worrisome, though, that the Knicks have suffered injury after injury so far this season. They have shown they cannot win with their top players hurt. They can't win without Porzingis. They went 0-3 without Kanter. If Hardaway played, they may win, but he was a late scratch. This was a tough one to swallow considering they came back to take the lead, but could not close it down the stretch.
This is a very important stretch coming up for the Knicks. After they play the Pacers, they will play seven straight games against teams below .500. They really should be able to go 6-1 or 5-2 during that run if they can stay healthy. The schedule only gets more difficult afterward, so it's essential their injured players return so the Knicks can take care of business against inferior teams. If not, it's going to be a difficult holiday season.
The Knicks face the Indiana Pacers on the road Monday night at 7.