ORLANDO — Immanuel Quickley had to slow down the Knicks for a moment in the fourth quarter, stopping as he lost a contact lens, caught it before it hit the ground and reinserted it. But he immediately got back in the action, hitting three consecutive three-point field goals and putting a hand over one of his eyes.
Maybe he and his Knicks teammates could have covered both eyes Friday night and still rained in three-pointers over the Magic. As it was, they set franchise records for most three-pointers made with 24 and attempted with 54, shattering the stylistic stereotypes of coach Tom Thibodeau’s teams and beating the Magic, 121-96, to improve to 2-0.
"Honestly, we might be able to break it again as far as the way we play together, the way we move the ball," Quickley said. "And then the defense creates offense. And then Thibs wants us to shoot more threes. We might be able to beat it again."
Challenge set and likely accepted. The Knicks came into training camp with a goal of shooting about 40 per game, but they hoisted 45 in the opener and followed that with 54. They attempted only 34 shots from inside the arc Friday night.
"For real? Oh, that’s cool," Evan Fournier said of the record. "Honestly, we just played the right way. We took what was in front of us. It started with Kemba [Walker]. That really got us going. [He] made I think three threes coming off pick-and-rolls, and it kinda gives you confidence. It got the fans going, because tonight was a home game.
"I mean, my goodness,’’ the former Magic player said. "I’ve been in that building many, many times, and I felt like I was at home tonight. That’s really what it felt like. And then we just shared the ball, tried to be aggressive, made the right play, and all we had to do was shoot it. I think it’s just the result of good offense."
This one turned ugly early as a 16-0 Knicks run to end the first quarter gave them a 36-16 lead. The lead ballooned to 69-35 early in the third quarter, and after a 22-4 spurt by the Magic cut the gap to 73-57 and gave Thibodeau film to show his team ahead of the Sunday rematch in New York, they again went up by 34 late in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks sank 10 threes in the fourth quarter — three by Quickley, two each by Alec Burks and Obi Toppin and one each by rookie Quentin Grimes, Derrick Rose and Julius Randle.
After Randle hit his three, he swiped a pass and took off on a fast break with the Knicks up by 31 and 4:30 to play. Wendell Carter Jr. fouled him hard and Randle got up and shoved him, drawing a technical foul.
"Nothing really, man. You’re up 30, 35, whatever it was, open- court layup, dunk, me personally, I would just let it go," Randle said. "But he didn’t. And it’s fine. I understand it. Maybe they’re trying to build a culture or whatever it is. It’s perfectly fine. It’s a hard foul. Hard foul me and I’m going to push you regardless, I don’t care. Really not a big deal. I don’t have no bad blood with those guys."
Randle finished with 21 points to lead seven Knicks in double figures and added 10 rebounds and seven assists. Fournier scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half, hitting four three-pointers, and Quickley scored 16.
It was the home opener for the Magic, but it hardly felt like it. The crowd was decidedly pro-Knicks, filled with transplants and snowbirds adorned in blue and orange. That left Fournier feeling at home even though it’s no longer his home.
He had scored 32 points in his Knicks debut on Wednesday night, including 12 points on four three-point field goals in the two overtimes to help the Knicks to a win over Boston. Knicks fans flooded into the streets outside the Garden and an expletive-filled video was posted on Twitter celebrating the win. Fournier quote-tweeted it with the message, "What did I get myself into?"
"I thought it was hilarious," he said Friday. "They’re crazy, but they’re passionate. And when you play, that’s what you want; you want a fan base that’s really pushing you.’’