The New York Knicks have been going through a very tough time during the 2017-18 NBA season. There were a lot of high expectations at the start, and people thought that this would be the year the Knicks started winning. However, things started to go slowly downhill as the season progressed.

High hopes get crushed

After a disastrous 2016-17 season in which the Knicks finished 12th in the eastern conference with a 31-51 record, their fourth straight losing season, the organization decided to do a rebuilding process. One of the biggest moves to happen in the off-season was trading star small forward Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 first round draft pick, giving Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis the opportunity to finally become the face of the franchise.

The Knicks also got a new rookie in 19 year old french point guard Frank Ntilikina, who was selected eighth overall in the 2017 draft. Along with a boatload of new faces, the Knicks were determined to do better and possibly make the playoffs.

The season started off with the Knicks losing their first three games, but then won the next three, and from there played good basketball and by Dec. 16, they were 16-13, even though they lost a key part of their lineup, shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., to injury on Dec. 5. As good as it seemed, the team's performance started to suffer after that, as for the rest of the first half of the season, the Knicks only won seven of their next 30 games. On Feb. 6 in a 103-89 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden, the team was hit hard as Porzingis tore his ACL, and was ruled out for the rest of the season, coming two weeks after he was named to his first all-star selection .

At the time, it was the teams third straight loss, and it didn't get any better from there as they lost their next four games and finished the first half of the season at 23-36. Over the course of the first half, there were four instances where the Knicks blew 20 point leads, leaving fans to wonder what was next.

A necessary win

In the first game back after the all-star break on Feb. 22, the Knicks faced off against the Orlando Magic on the road. With some new faces on the roster, such as point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who came from the Denver Nuggets in a three team deal that also included the Dallas Mavericks, and point guard Trey Burke, who was brought up from the G league's Westchester Knicks.

The game started off with both teams going back and forth for the first seven minutes before the Magic took the lead on a three pointer from Aaron Gordon and kept it up, as the first quarter ended with Magic leading 41-31. The second quarter was dominated entirely by the Magic, who got multiple shots from Nikola Vucevic, Shelvin Mack, and Khem Birch. The Knicks would try to keep up as best as they could, but it wasn't enough as they trailed by six at the end of the half, with Knicks head coach Jeff Hornaceck showing clear signs of frustration with his team.

At the start of the second half, things started to change. After the Magic took an 11 point lead two minutes in, the Knicks offense started to explode, as they went on a 12-0 run in two minutes, with Kanter scoring six points, Mudiay getting two, and Hardway scoring four, including the shot to take a 77-76 lead.

It would go back and forth again before the Knicks were up again on free throws from Hardaway and center Kyle O'Quinn respectively and at the end of the third quarter, lead 93-90. The Magic would briefly take a one point lead on a two pointer from Mack, but after a dagger from small forward Troy Williams, the Knicks never looked back and won the game 120-113. Hardaway finished the game with 23 points and six assists, while Burke scored 26 points with six assists, and Kanter scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. The win was a much needed relief for the team, but will have to improve their game if they want to keep winning.