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Jalen Brunson’s 33 points not enough as depleted Knicks fall to Magic in last game before All-Star break

No team in the league is happier to see the All-Star break than the New York Knicks.

Jalen Brunson attempted to put his team on his back, however, a roster that injuries have decimated couldn’t keep up with Paolo Banchero’s Orlando Magic. Brunson scored 33 points on 11-of-21 from the field in their 118-100 defeat, which accounted for their fourth straight loss.

The Knicks’ second leading scorer was Precious Achiuwa who registered 18 points and 12 rebounds.

New York had no answer for the Magic in the paint with both Isaiah Hartenstein (sore Achilles) and Mitchell Robinson (ankle surgery) sidelined. Banchero was the game’s leading scorer putting up 36 points on 15-of-20 from the field. Franz Wagner also did his share of damage scoring 19 points and dishing out six assists.

As a team, the Magic shot 63% from the field as Tom Thibodeau’s lack of personnel was apparent on the defensive end of the floor.

Donte DiVincenzo (hamstring) and Bojan Bogdanovic (left calf) were also out for the Knicks pushing Alec Burks into the starting lineup. Burks scored 13 points on an inefficient 5-of-16 from the field during his first start of the season.

Thibodeau told reporters pregame that he expects DiVincenzo, Hartenstein and Bogdanovic back once the team returns from the break against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, Feb. 22.

The All-Star break will provide a much-needed break for the Knicks players who are currently healthy — due to excessive minutes — and those who are waiting to return. Robinson is expected to begin some basketball activities after the break, Anunoby and Julius Randle (shoulder surgery) will be one week closer to returning without having to suffer through games of seven-eight man rotations.

The Knicks enter the break as the Eastern Conference’s No. 4 seed and would face off against the 76ers in the first round if the season ended today. Once the Knicks return from their time off, it’ll be time to hit the ground running in quest of better playoff positioning.