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Magic end two-game losing streak with 112-99 win over Knicks

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) If there was any question how important point guard Elfrid Payton is to running the Orlando Magic's offense smoothly that has been put to rest.

After missing the previous eight games because of a left hamstring injury, Payton returned to the floor against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. The Magic found their rhythm and winning touch with Payton back in the lineup in a 112-99 victory over the short-handed Knicks.

Payton had 11 points and 11 assists in 29 minutes.

''A sight for sore eyes,'' said Magic coach Frank Vogel, whose team ended a two-game losing streak Wednesday night. ''That's what it was for me seeing Elfrid Payton back out there.''

Suddenly, the spacing was there, the ball was moving and the Magic players were getting the ball just where they wanted it. And it took Aaron Gordon exactly 32 seconds into the game for Payton to find him flying toward the basketball for one of their signature alley-oop connections.

Payton was indeed back and so was the Magic's offensive explosiveness.

''It was really cool just to have Frank be so aware that I hadn't gotten a lob in a while,'' Gordon said. ''EP was back, he knew that play was going to be open, and we hadn't run it while.''

The Magic (7-4) had played without Payton for nearly 2 1/2 weeks and have been without backup D.J. Augustin (hamstring) the last three games. That left Orlando with one healthy point guard, third-stringer Shelvin Mack who wasn't use to playing with the starting unit.

But the Magic looked more like the team that started fast Wednesday night. They shot 54 percent from the floor and 46 percent from 3-point range with Payton running the show most of the night despite his hamstring still feeling tight.

Nikola Vucevic led five Magic players in double figures with 24 points while Evan Fournier added 23 and Gordon finished with 21 points.

Payton was only too glad to be back out there creating for his teammates.

''It feels good,'' he said. ''That's what I'm here for to make everybody's job as easy as possible.''

The Knicks, meanwhile, were out of sorts with Kristaps Porzingis out of the lineup with ankle and elbow injuries sidelining him for the night. With the NBA's second-leading scorer not on the floor, the Knicks only found consistent scoring from Tim Hardaway, Jr., who led all scorers with 26.

Otherwise, they were marred in inconsistency as their three-game winning streak came to an end. New York (6-5) committed 23 turnovers with Orlando jumping the passing lanes for 16 steals.

''That was a big difference in the game,'' Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said about the turnovers. ''(The Magic) had a little more energy.''

But the Knicks, playing a back-to-back, managed to keep the game relatively close until early in the fourth quarter. That's when Jonathon Simmons came off the bench for Magic and scored 11 straight points during a stretch to help Orlando re-establish a double-digit lead.

Simmons, who had played backup point in Payton's absence, scored 15 of his 16 points in the second half in his more natural wing role.

''When we're at our best, it's with the starting unit doing what they are doing and Simmons coming in and running the show with the second unit,'' Vogel said. ''So EP has a ripple effect, putting Simmons back in his natural environment.''

TIP-INS

Knicks: Forward Michael Beasley started in place of injured Porzingis. Beasley scored four points. ... Point guard Jarrett Jack converted 3 of 4 field goals in the first half and had four assists but he also had four turnovers. He finished with six turnovers on the night.

Magic: Fournier had five steals in the first half and was a major reason the Magic outscored the Knicks on fast break points 14-0 during the first two quarters. For the game, the Magic outscored the Knicks 21-4 on fast breaks.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Hosts Sacramento on Saturday night.

Magic: At Phoenix on Friday night.

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Key Players
K. Porzingis
6 F
A. Gordon
00 F
31.1 Min. Per Game 31.1
19.1 Pts. Per Game 19.1
2.3 Ast. Per Game 2.3
8.9 Reb. Per Game 8.9
51.2 Field Goal % 55.2
51.2 Three Point % 54.1
83.6 Free Throw % 76.7
  Defensive rebound by Terrence Ross 0:02
  Mindaugas Kuzminskas missed layup, blocked by Nikola Vucevic 0:06
  Defensive rebound by Damyean Dotson 0:17
  Shelvin Mack missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:20
  Defensive rebound by Shelvin Mack 0:46
  Mindaugas Kuzminskas missed jump shot 0:46
  Defensive rebound by Frank Ntilikina 0:51
  Shelvin Mack missed jump shot 0:55
  Defensive rebound by Nikola Vucevic 1:10
  Doug McDermott missed layup 1:13
  Defensive rebound by Doug McDermott 1:20
Team Stats
Points 99 112
Field Goals 42-80 (52.5%) 43-80 (53.8%)
3-Pointers 5-12 (41.7%) 13-28 (46.4%)
Free Throws 10-13 (76.9%) 13-22 (59.1%)
Total Rebounds 49 38
Offensive 12 6
Defensive 30 23
Team 7 9
Assists 26 31
Steals 7 16
Blocks 2 7
Turnovers 23 12
Fouls 21 15
Technicals 0 1
26 PTS, 11 REB, 1 AST
11 PTS, 6 REB, 11 AST
1234T
away team logo Knicks 6-5 2822262399
home team logo Magic 7-4 27273028112
Team Stats
away team logo Knicks 6-5 PPG RPG APG
home team logo Magic 7-4 PPG RPG APG
Key Players
T. Hardaway Jr. F 17.5 PPG 3.9 RPG 2.7 APG 42.1 FG%
N. Vucevic C 16.5 PPG 9.2 RPG 3.4 APG 47.5 FG%
Top Scorers
T. Hardaway Jr. F 26 PTS 11 REB 1 AST
N. Vucevic C 24 PTS 5 REB 1 AST
52.5 FG% 53.8
41.7 3PT FG% 46.4
76.9 FT% 59.1
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Hardaway Jr. 37 26 11 1 1 0 3 3 11/21 1/5 3/3 1 10 37 -15
C. Lee 29 12 2 1 4 0 3 0 3/7 1/2 5/5 0 2 17 -20
E. Kanter 20 10 6 0 0 0 2 2 5/6 0/0 0/0 2 4 14 -17
J. Jack 25 6 3 5 0 0 6 3 3/4 0/0 0/0 1 2 13 -10
M. Beasley 20 4 4 3 0 1 2 2 2/5 0/0 0/0 2 2 13 -17
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Hardaway Jr. 37 26 11 1 1 0 3 3 11/21 1/5 3/3 1 10 37 -15
C. Lee 29 12 2 1 4 0 3 0 3/7 1/2 5/5 0 2 17 -20
E. Kanter 20 10 6 0 0 0 2 2 5/6 0/0 0/0 2 4 14 -17
J. Jack 25 6 3 5 0 0 6 3 3/4 0/0 0/0 1 2 13 -10
M. Beasley 20 4 4 3 0 1 2 2 2/5 0/0 0/0 2 2 13 -17
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
D. McDermott 30 13 2 1 0 0 1 3 5/9 3/4 0/0 0 2 16 +8
K. O'Quinn 19 8 4 4 1 0 3 2 4/7 0/1 0/0 1 3 18 +6
W. Hernangomez 7 8 3 0 0 0 0 2 4/6 0/0 0/2 3 0 11 -2
L. Thomas 22 6 2 2 0 0 0 2 2/6 0/0 2/3 1 1 12 +5
F. Ntilikina 22 6 4 9 1 1 2 2 3/7 0/0 0/0 1 3 28 -3
M. Kuzminskas 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/2 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 0
D. Dotson 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0
R. Sessions - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Hicks - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Kornet - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Porzingis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Baker - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 233 99 42 26 7 2 23 21 42/80 5/12 10/13 12 30 179 -65
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
N. Vucevic 32 24 5 1 4 1 1 2 9/16 3/6 3/3 1 4 35 +16
E. Fournier 33 23 2 5 5 1 4 3 9/16 3/6 2/4 0 2 37 +17
A. Gordon 36 21 4 1 0 1 0 1 8/11 4/6 1/2 1 3 28 +23
E. Payton 29 11 6 11 2 2 2 1 5/9 0/2 1/1 2 4 41 +20
T. Ross 24 6 2 3 2 0 1 3 2/5 2/3 0/0 0 2 15 +4
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
N. Vucevic 32 24 5 1 4 1 1 2 9/16 3/6 3/3 1 4 35 +16
E. Fournier 33 23 2 5 5 1 4 3 9/16 3/6 2/4 0 2 37 +17
A. Gordon 36 21 4 1 0 1 0 1 8/11 4/6 1/2 1 3 28 +23
E. Payton 29 11 6 11 2 2 2 1 5/9 0/2 1/1 2 4 41 +20
T. Ross 24 6 2 3 2 0 1 3 2/5 2/3 0/0 0 2 15 +4
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Simmons 24 16 2 2 1 0 2 1 6/10 1/1 3/6 1 1 21 -7
B. Biyombo 15 7 2 0 0 1 0 2 2/2 0/0 3/6 0 2 10 -3
J. Isaac 22 4 2 2 0 0 2 0 2/6 0/3 0/0 1 1 8 +2
S. Mack 19 0 4 6 2 1 0 2 0/4 0/1 0/0 0 4 19 -7
W. Iwundu 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 0 0 0
A. Afflalo - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Augustin - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Speights - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Hezonja - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Artis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Payne - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Birch - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 235 112 29 31 16 7 12 15 43/80 13/28 13/22 6 23 214 +65