The Blazers were led by a red-hot Nicolas Batum, who scored 23 points with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. He had support from Damian Lillard's 23 points and 6 assists, Wesley Matthews added 17 points and 6 rebounds, and NBA Player of the Week LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
First Half: The Knicks apparently forgot there was a game tonight. At least, at the defensive end. Lillard was left wide open repeatedly, for easy dunks and three-pointers. Batum had 13 points on 5 shots. The Knicks were not rotating on defense, leaving shooters open for three, and easy layups for Lopez. The only guy not scoring was Aldridge, but he didn't seem to mind, as his team easily opened a 20 point lead. In fact, for the majority of the second quarter, the starters were not playing, as Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and the Knicks were outplayed by Thomas Robinson, Will Barton and the Blazers bench without the suspended Mo Williams. The Knicks were being outscored in the paint, but that's not fair, they were being outscored everywhere. Only a late mini-run kept them within less than 20 points of the Blazers.
Portland 56, New York 39
Stotts: So here is our play, Lillard dribbles it to the basket and lays it in
Aldridge: Should I set a pick
Stotts: Nah, it’s the Knicks. It worked before.
Third Quarter: The Blazer starters got sloppy to start the second half, allowing the Knicks to close the gap further. Back-to-back Knicks three-pointers cut the Blazer lead to 12 with 4:30 left, as the Blazers were not playing the game that got them into the lead, instead getting sloppy and settling for low-percentage shots. More Blazer ISO play helped the Knicks cut the lead to 10, forcing a Portland timeout. Two minutes later, the Blazers were leading by 16 again. But Carmelo tried to put the Knicks on his back and keep them close heading into the fourth quarter.
Portland 81, Knicks 69
I can't believe we're up by 10 without Mo you guys
Fourth Quarter: As some of the Blazer starters rested, the Knicks took advantage, quickly cutting the lead to 7 and drawing some moans from the Portland crowd. Stop me if you've heard this before: a minute later, the Blazer lead was 13, thanks to some opportunistic defense and a three-pointer from Matthews. New York couldn't get any closer, and Stotts took a safety timeout, leading by 14 with about six minutes remaining. The Knicks used that break to prepare for one last run, cutting the lead to 9 in a minute and a half. That forced another Blazer timeout. Aldridge immediately scored in the post, followed by Lillard free throws to keep the Blazers ahead by 10 with two minutes left. But Anthony's three-point play cut the lead down to 7 with 1:47 left. But Lillard calmly hit a pull-up jumper, and the Knicks had no comebacks left in the tank. Soon, the Blazers and their fans celebrated their 11th straight victory.
The Blazers get a day off before heading to Phoenix for a Wednesday night game against the Suns.
Comments of the night!
Thanks to everyone who participates in our nightly Gameday Threads! We had over 2,500 tonight alone. I always quote a few favorites in the recap, but for a little extra fun, these were the most popular comments of the night based on number of recs: