Orlando improves to 30-25 heading into break

The Magic were missing two starters and a key reserve against the Knicks on the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday at Kia Center.

Point guard Markelle Fultz (left knee injury maintenance) and guard Jalen Suggs (sore right groin) were not available, which moved rookie Anthony Black and second-year guard Caleb Houstan back into Orlando‘s starting lineup.

Nonetheless, the Magic posted a 118-100 victory over New York to improve their record to 30-25. Forward Paolo Banchero paced Orlando with 36 points. The Knicks — in fourth place in the Eastern Conference — are 33-22.

Fultz has yet to play on the second night of a back-to-back since he returned to the court Jan. 7 after missing 27 straight games due to left knee tendinitis. Wednesday’s game vs. New York marked the fourth time he sat out the second game of a back-to-back.

Suggs was a late add to the Magic’s injury report after he was ruled out less than two hours before tip-off. It marked the fifth game he’s missed due to injury this season.

He previously sat out one game (Nov. 17) due to a sore left knee, one game (Dec. 8) due to a right ankle strain and two games (Dec. 21-23) due to a left wrist sprain.

In addition to Suggs and Fultz, the Magic did not have guard Gary Harris (right calf injury maintenance) on Wednesday for the 22nd contest this season.

Harris previously missed 16 games (Dec. 27-29, Jan. 5-31) due to a right calf strain, so it wasn’t a surprise for him to sit against the Knicks. He also missed five games (Nov. 4-14) due to a strained right groin.

Since his return to the court, Harris had averaged 5.3 points and 1.3 assists during 21.2 minutes in six games.

While the Magic were without three players, it was a much more dire situation for the Knicks.

Listed as questionable throughout Wednesday, newly acquired forward Bojan Bogdanovic (sore left calf), Isaiah Hartenstein (left Achilles tendinopathy) and Donte DiVincenzo (sore right hamstring) all were ruled out pre-game.

Those three, as well as OG Anunoby (right elbow surgery) and Julius Randle (dislocated right shoulder), left the Knicks with just nine active players against the Magic.

Wednesday’s game marked the third meeting between Orlando and New York. The Magic had won the first two meetings — first at home in late December, then on the road a month ago. The sides will meet a fourth and final time of the regular season on March 8 at Madison Square Garden.

The Magic’s victory Wednesday also marked the last game for both teams before this weekend’s NBA All-Star break.

The Magic will return from the break on Feb. 22 at Cleveland to begin a three-game trip that includes stops at Detroit and Atlanta.

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