The Magic's wayward shooting helped the Knicks break into the win column.
New York held Orlando to 25 percent shooting and won 75-68 on Monday night to avoid its second straight 0-3 start. Last season, New York lost its first four.
The Magic's 21-for-84 night was New York's best defensive effort in its lengthy history and Orlando's worst shooting performance in the franchise's 15 years.
"It feels good to win, to win the way we did, on the road against our big nemesis," said Charlie Ward, who led New York with 15 points and five assists. "But any win is good."
Keith Van Horn added 14 points and eight rebounds and Othella Harrington had 12 points.
Almost 18 years had passed since a Knicks squad had such a dominant game on defense. Dec. 19, 1985, New York held the Pacers to 25.7 percent shooting.
Leading New York's defense was Kurt Thomas with five blocks and 11 rebounds and Dikembe Mutombo with three blocks and seven rebounds.
"Every time (Orlando) penetrated, they were there. That's what we have to have," Knicks coach Don Chaney said.
"Our team defense this season has been really good," Van Horn said. "We've just got to get our offense going, and I have confidence that it will get going."
New York shot 40 percent, including 1-of-12 on 3-point attempts, and committed 20 turnovers.
The Magic's worst shooting performance was 28.6 percent at Philadelphia on March 15, 1999. A 2-for-15 second quarter and 4-for-16 fourth quarter helped beat that record by three misses.
Orlando coach Doc Rivers saw his team get a 9-for-30 night from the starting backcourt of Tracy McGrady and Tyronn Lue, a 9-for-31 outing from the frontline of Juwan Howard, Drew Gooden and Steven Hunter and a 3-for-23 performance from the bench.
Rivers summed up the night in four words: "We're not that good."