Perhaps the early start — it was noon tip-off — affected both teams because New York led 47-38 after a first half in which the Knicks only made 37 percent of their shots and Orlando hit 32 percent.
New York’s lead grew to 68-54 after Obi Toppin’s alley-oop jam one minute into the fourth.
The Magic rallied and went ahead 81-80 when Ross’ 28-foot heave beat an expiring shot clock. The lead lasted for all of eight seconds, as Randle tied the game with a free throw.
On New York’s ensuing possession, Randle hit a floater during a run in which the Knicks scored nine straight points.
Magic: The matinee marked a homecoming of sorts for Cole Anthony, the 15th overall pick in the draft. Anthony, who grew up in New York City and is the son of former Knick and current TNT analyst Greg Anthony, played his first game as a professional at Madison Square Garden. The 20-year old entered the game averaging 10.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. He finished with six points, five rebounds and one assist.
“I think it’s what he wants,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said before the game. “He’s a confident young guy. He’s handling it well.”
Knicks: Fourteen games is a small sample size, but New York coach Tom Thibodeau is pleased with the play of third-year forward Kevin Knox, who came into the game shooting 43 percent from the field and averaging 7.8 points per game coming off the bench. Knox, who came into the season shooting 33.7 percent from 3, is connecting at a 44.2 percent clip so far in 2020-21.
“I thought when he took good shots, he made them or they were in-and-out,” was how Thibodeau assessed Knox’s improved play. “He’s allowing the game to come to him. He put a lot of time into shooting this summer. He can do more than spot up.”
New York improved to 23-12 all-time on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Magic: Finish four-game road trip Wednesday at Minnesota.
Knicks: Begin a four-game West Coast road trip Thursday at Golden State.