ORLANDO, Fla. — Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau explained early past 7 days he had “ideas’’ on what induced the Knicks’ early-year downfall soon after a 5-1 begin.
I have one, way too.
Sunday marked the first check out to Orlando due to the fact the season’s next game on Oct. 22, when the Knicks confronted the woeful Magic and were pounding them into submission.
Coming off their period-opening dramatic double-extra time get over the Celtics, the Knicks constructed a 32-level lead halfway as a result of the next quarter.
The transplanted New Yorkers were soaking it all up. They loaded downtown Orlando’s Amway Center with a delightful sound — even as Thibodeau stored to a single of his coaching eccentricities of jogging up the rating.
This was prolonged in advance of starting point guard Kemba Walker give up on the year at the All-Star split, right before Derrick Rose broke down in December and in advance of the lovers turned on Julius Randle, their reigning All-Star electricity ahead.
The Knicks had been up 24 details. There was 6:41 remaining and Randle arrived speeding back into the match for second-year person Obi Toppin.
Randle stored churning to the basket as if this were a 1-place activity. On 1 speedy crack, Knicks up 21, Randle turned into a runaway locomotive. Orlando power forward Wendell Carter tackled him to the floor, sending a information.
Randle acquired up steaming, shoved Carter. Officers and gamers intervened, but not right before Randle experienced picked up a technical foul.
Recognizing his miscue, Thibodeau pulled Randle from the sport and he concluded the night with 21 factors, 10 rebounds and seven helps.
All should’ve been overlooked as the Knicks flew home with a 25-issue, 121-96 rout and 2- history.
It wasn’t forgotten. Not by Orlando. This was a household-and-residence and the Magic have been correct behind the Knicks’ constitution in the sky, heading to New York, keen for revenge. The Magic gamers admitted they took the loss personally and Harlem indigenous Mo Bamba explained: “Thank God we have them all over again in a matter of 24 several hours.”
Two days later on, the Magic stormed into the Garden and New York native issue guard Cole Anthony busted up Broadway for 29 factors, 16 rebounds and 8 helps.
The Magic pulled off the type of breathtaking upset the Knicks weren’t utilised to in the course of their magical 2020-21 frequent period that noticed them host teams in both an empty arena or ahead of a smattering of enthusiasts (1,900 capacity).
Orlando’s staff internet site mocked Knicks admirers, tweeting out a photo of their “Bing-Bong’’ celebration outside the Back garden soon after the household-opening win versus Boston.
Maybe this Orlando reduction — courtesy of Thibodeau — was a to start with chink in the Knicks’ armor. Of course, the Knicks went on to a 5-1 start, but Orlando frequented the mecca shortly following — on Nov. 18.
Emboldened by their victory three weeks prior to, the Magic overcame a fourth-quarter deficit and posted one more Back garden victory, 104-98.
Orlando trailed 96-94 with 1:54 left but stunned the Knicks by outscoring them 10-2 the rest of the way. The Knicks had been a sensational fourth-quarter team all final season.
The decline dropped the Knicks to 8-7 as they absorbed their sixth decline in 9 online games. That air of superiority was vanishing. There was stress when the Knicks dropped to the .500 mark at 11-11 on Dec. 2 just after a decline to the Bulls. Mediocrity experienced returned to 2 Penn Plaza.
It is April now and the Knicks are participating in out the string just like the Magic (20-58 heading into Sunday) — four game titles to go. “Bing-Bong” is now an NBA punch line.
The Knicks entered 10 games under .500 soon after staying 10 online games over .500 in 2020-21. Randle didn’t make the journey this time — owning been shut down for the year just after Thursday’s formal postseason elimination.
The NBA is a psychological sport, a game of confidence and that is what previous season’s modest roster had in spades.
Together this unfortunate journey, just about every unsettling reduction chipped away at their confidence like slipping dominoes. Potentially the two house losses to Orlando aided the Knicks getting rid of perception in themselves.
It’s just one domino-associated plan.