The New York Knicks left Amway Center with some good news and some bad news on Monday night.
The good news is that they defeated the Orlando Magic, 103-98. The bad news is that they lost Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton in the process.
Anthony, who led the Knicks with 19 points, went down in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle and did not return. Felton strained his right groin late in the fourth and also sat out the rest of the night.
Still, New York came away with the win despite blowing nearly all of a 25-point lead.
The Knicks led by 25 in the third quarter. Then, Anthony turned his ankle. Next thing you knew, it was a one-point game in the fourth, and New York was clinging to life.
Thanks to some big plays from Andrea Bargnani and Iman Shumpert down the stretch and six clutch free throws from Beno Udrih within the final minute, the Knicks held on.
Arron Afflalo led the Magic with 26 points.
Let's analyze the keys to this game.
Pick-and-Roll is Back for New York
There is a noticeable difference in the Knicks' offense when both Felton and Tyson Chandler are healthy. Remember all of the alley-oops those two converted off pick-and-rolls last season? Well, you saw that in action tonight, as the duo completed two such plays and worked very well in unison with each other throughout the entire contest.
Chandler was huge, going for 10 points and 13 rebounds, including a huge offensive board late that gave New York an extra possession and forced Orlando to foul.
It's going to be a shame if the groin injury keeps Felton out for an extended period of time, because the Knicks' offense was humming for much of the evening with those two playing together.
Great Ball Movement for the Knicks
Last season, New York's success was predicated on great ball movement around the perimeter which led to the Knicks drilling threes almost non-stop.
We saw a glimpse of that on Monday night, as the Knicks' ball movement was brilliant.
New York hit 10 threes on the evening, eight of them coming in the first half. Anthony and J.R. Smith both drained three apiece.
Of course, that ball movement disappeared for much of the second half as the Knicks' offense crumbled, but it was nice to see it briefly in action.
Missed Open Looks for Orlando
The Knicks lucked out in this one.
New York constantly left Orlando's shooters open from the perimeter, but the Magic did not capitalize, going 8-of-25 from distance.
The big comeback probably sapped a good amount of energy out of Orlando's legs, but the Magic missed a golden opportunity to steal this one, as guys like Jameer Nelson and Tobias Harris missed numerous clean looks late.