NBA regular season

Knicks top reeling Magic for rare back-to-back wins

Knicks top reeling Magic for rare back-to-back wins

WIN STREAK. RJ Barrett and the Knicks squander a double-digit lead but pull through down the stretch.

Photo by Kathy Willens/Pool Photo/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Crushing the Celtics a day prior, the Knicks win back-to-back days for the first time since 2017 with a gritty victory over the Magic

Julius Randle hit the tie-breaking layup with 56.8 seconds left as the host New York Knicks posted a rare back-to-back sweep by beating the Orlando Magic, 91-84, on Monday, January 18 (Tuesday, January 19, Manila time).

The Knicks, who beat the Boston Celtics on Sunday, won on back-to-back days for the first time since October 29-30 2017, when they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Denver Nuggets. New York played 40 back-to-back sets in between sweeps.

Randle (21 points, 17 rebounds) and RJ Barrett (22 points, 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles for the second straight game. Reggie Bullock scored 13 points, Elfrid Payton added 12 points, and Immanuel Quickley added 11 points off the bench.

Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 14 rebounds and Aaron Gordon (18 points, 17 rebounds, 9 assists) just missed a triple-double for the Magic, which have lost 6 straight since Markelle Fultz suffered a season-ending knee injury. Terrence Ross had 19 points off the bench.

The Knicks led for almost 40 consecutive minutes but squandered a 14-point fourth-quarter advantage before mounting their late run.

Ross, Vucevic, and Gordon generated a 19-5 run to tie the game. Ross and Vucevic had 7 points apiece and Gordon scored 5 in that stretch by the Magic that ended with Gordon sinking the three-pointer that evened the score at 73-73 with 5:50 left.

Ross’ three-pointer tied the game again at 78-78 with 3:39 left. The Magic squandered two chances to take the lead before Khem Birch won a jump ball to set up a frantic sequence in which Ross drained an off-balance three-pointer as the shot clock expired to give Orlando an 81-80 lead – its first lead since 9-6 – with 1:41 left.

Randle hit one of two free throws on the Knicks’ next trip down the floor. After Ross missed a three-pointer, New York called timeout and Randle subsequently drove the lane, generated contact with Birch and hit the go-ahead layup as Birch fell to the ground.

Bullock stole a Gordon pass on the Magic’s next possession and Barrett converted the layup on the other end to extend the Knicks lead to 85-81. Gordon then missed a pair of layups and New York iced the game by going 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 27.1 seconds. –

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