With Kristaps Porzingis on the bench with a bad elbow and ankle Wednesday night, the Knicks couldn't muster a win on the road against the Magic.
It would have had to be another comeback win for the Knicks, but they didn't have their go-to player on the floor to lead the way. Tim Hardaway Jr. put a team-high 26 points on the board. However, it was to no avail as the Magic finished the Knicks off in the fourth quarter, 112-99, to hand them their fifth loss of the season.
Hardaway had to admit after the game that it was hard without Porzingis on the floor.
"You got to miss the Big Fella," Hardaway told The Post's Marc Berman. "He does a great job of stretching the floor and makes the right plays."
The Knicks on the wrong were making the wrong plays as turnovers plagued their offensive rhythm. They may have shot 52.5 percent from the field, but head coach Jeff Hornacek knew giving up the ball would cost his team in the end.
"That was the difference in the game," Hornacek said. "They had a lot more energy. We got tired and we had to cut down on mental errors. Like any team missing their star player, guys have to step up."
Michael Beasley took Porzingis' spot on the floor, and the Knicks were hoping his knack for scoring would result in quick points early in the game. However, Beasley talllied a mere four points in 20 minutes, becoming a non-factor when they needed him the most.
It was the Knicks' second game in two nights, and whether it was the travel or fatigue from Tuesday night, the game just didn't feel right to rookie PG Frank Ntilikina.
"I think we didn't have our head in the game as usual -- maybe it was a back-to-back, but we have a lot of work to do," Ntilikina said. "KP makes basketball easier...We now know we have to work harder when he's not there."
Like the Knicks, the Magic have been a surprise this season as they sit third in the East with a 7-4 record. GM Scott Perry was in familiar waters in Orlando as he was just let go this past season from the team as their assistant GM. Speaking before the game, he knows his team has put together a few wins, but consistency in their level of play is still the main focus moving forward.
"I told you at the beginning. It wasn't as much as the record," Perry said. "I knew if we played hard and competed those type of qualities gives you an opportunity to be in games, be close and have a chance to win. I just want to continue along that path."
Lucky for the Knicks -- and Porzingis -- their next contest isn't until Saturday night when they host the Kings at Madison Square Garden.