For the first three quarters of the Knicks/Magic game last night, the Knicks did an effective job of playing Orlando's game, keeping a slower pace. Despite Dwight Howard's dominating play, the Knicks made sure to harass him all the way through and it worked in their favor, as they played competitively and even took a lead into the first half.
But that all changed in the fourth quarter, however, as Jameer Nelson attacked the Knicks with a more fast-paced eruption as he propelled the Magic to a 116-110 victory. The Knicks were surprisingly unable to keep up with Nelson as he scored 14 of his 26 points in the last quarter.
Aside from Nelson and Howard's 30 point-16 rebound-5 block performance, the Knicks were scorched by a player they know all too well. Quentin Richardson came off the bench for the Magic to score 10 points and absolutely pester Carmelo Anthony on defense in 17 minutes.
The Knicks were led by a balanced and powerful attack by their resident 'Big Three," as Anthony finished with 25 points and Amar'e Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups each scored 30.
While it's to be expected that with those three getting most of touches, other players' offensive production is to go down, New York still could use someone else to step in and score 10-15 points every once and a while, as playing alongside the "Big Three," no other Knick has been likely to score in double-digits. The team could use a bit more offense from a player like Landry Fields or recently inserted starter Shawne Williams, as Billups is not likely to have offensive outbursts like that every night.
In fact, the team may be looking for that additional offense more sooner than later, as Billups banged up his knee/upper thigh area as he ran into Dwight Howard's knee on a screen in the fourth quarter. Knicks Broadcaster Walt "Clyde" Frazier said that type of injury can linger with a player for quite a while.
Any update on Billups' availability for tonight's game should be upcoming, as the Knicks return home to take on the Hornets.