The New York Knicks fell on Sunday night to the Orlando Magic, 110-104, at The Garden. The Knicks, who were a 12-point favorite, looked good for most of the first half, watching a lead balloon up to 13 points, but the Magic then started to find their groove late in the second as they started a run.

The basket trading continued into the third quarter as the Knicks barely outscored the Magic, 23-22.

But the fourth quarter came and that’s when the wheels fell off for New York. Terrence Ross, who had zero points headed into the final 12 minutes, exploded for 22 points in the fourth quarter as the lid was on the basket for the Knicks while the Magic were able to hit anything within the borough of Manhattan. The Magic outscored the Knicks in the fourth quarter, 36-24.

This is coming off the heels of a game on Friday in Orlando in which the Knicks trounced the Magic, 121-96.

Simply put, the Knicks did not respect the Orlando Magic and the Magic came in and punched them in the mouth at their home. 

The loss to the Magic is good because it will serve as a wake-up call. The Knicks cannot come into games against the Magics or the Pistons of the world thinking they will win the game handedly. Respectfully, it’s no secret the Magic are going to be among the worst teams in the National Basketball Association.

It was a bad loss for the Knicks that surely left a sour taste in their mouth.

Plus, the Knicks lost by six points. Fans pointed to the fact the Knicks shot 27% from deep on Sunday and attributed the loss to that. However, the Knicks missed eight free throws on Sunday with Mitchell Robinson missing three shots from the line. They rank penultimate in the league in free throw percentage. For a team that has a new identity as a three-point shooting team, ranking second-to-last in free throws is simply unacceptable. Missed free throws is a popular pet peeve of basketball fans and that was the difference between a six-point loss and a two-point win on Sunday. 

Now after getting humbled by a team that will win about 20-something games, the Knicks have to up against a handful of tests over the next week including games against the Sixers, who have always have the Knicks’ number, and the Bulls, who very much look like a team that will make the playoffs swimmingly with Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan. 

They will also battle the Pelicans this week too, who sit in 14th in the Western Conference as of Tuesday afternoon. If they come out against the Pelicans the same way they came out against the Magic, the Knicks will have to really look deep

No need to panic after losing to the Magic the way they did. It’s the second week of the season, but these losses simply cannot happen. The Knicks are now a team that needs to beat every team they should beat. They should beat the Pelicans and the Magic every time they do battle on the hardwood. They should beat the teams that are not even a thought to make the playoffs.

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