NBA Matchup: New York Knicks @ Orlando Magic

New York Knicks at Orlando Magic Tues. March 1, 2011 7 p.m. EST

There is no question that after the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 24 the Eastern Conference became considerably better than the Western Conference from top to bottom. Not only was the East already extremely tough with the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat leading the way, but they got even tougher after the Denver Nuggets traded Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks.

With this trade, the Nuggets will be a bottom feeder in the West once again and the Knicks will be a serious force to be reckoned with in the East. Some people may argue that New York gave up way too much to get Carmelo Anthony, but the fact that veteran point guard Chauncey “Mr. Big Shot” Billups was included might have made this trade a steal for the Knicks.

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So from here on out the New York Knicks might be without Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallanari, but so far there doesn’t seem to be affecting them all that much as Melo is quickly adapting to his new surroundings and Billups is hitting the big shots once again. The New York Knicks may have lost to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers in their second game after the Carmelo Anthony trade, but they got a big win when they were able to beat the Miami Heat on their home floor this past Sunday.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 23:  Chauncey Billups ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The one thing that was most memorable about the win over the Miami Heat recently was the fact that the New York Knicks actually showed some promise on the defensive end of the basketball floor. With Melo seemingly motivated and Amare Stoudemire excited about the potential of this team, the Knicks could be starting to finally turn things around as they look more and more like a very dangerous team in the Eastern Conference.

Even though the win over the Miami Heat was huge and showed to many people that the trade could end up being the one thing that turns around the New York Knicks franchise, Carmelo Anthony and company will have their work cut out for them once again as they go up against another elite team in the Eastern Conference in the Orlando Magic.

Despite Dwight Howard and company not being the team that many people thought they would be after their big blockbuster trade earlier in the season, they are still a force to be reckoned with and could at any moment flip the switch to get into playoff mode.

Whether or not the Orlando Magic have that ability to flip the switch like the Boston Celtics or the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers remains to be seen, but with how much talent is on the team they could be dangerous at any moment.

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Coming into this game, the New York Knicks will be the underdogs once again with a -7 point spread in favor of the home team in the Orlando Magic. Even though I believe the Magic will be tough to beat on Tuesday night in Orlando, the Knicks are starting to get hot with their new additions and will be looking to make a statement that the win over the Miami Heat was no fluke.

This should be a tight game from start to finish, but in the end it will come down to defense in which team is willing to step up on the defensive end of the floor.

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