USA TODAY Sports Images
A dominant second half led to an easy Portland Trail Blazers victory over the New York Knicks. Damian Lillard reminded a national television audience why he's the best Blazer point guard in the past 10 years, and the easy winner of the Rookie of the Year award.
The Blazers were led by their point guard in a decade, Damian Lillard, with 26 points and 10 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge (21 points, 10 rebounds with a migraine) and JJ Hickson (12 points, 16 rebounds) also had double-doubles, and Nicolas Batum (16 points) and Wesley Matthews (14 points) also scored in double-figures. JR Smith had a big evening, but no other New York Knicks player was relevant tonight.
First Quarter: The crowd came out booing, but the Knicks came out hot after being blown out last night. At the first timeout, they led by 5. Aldridge was clearly struggling against the noise and lights. They pushed it to 8 behind some nice play by Kenyon Martin. The Blazer bench held down the fort, keeping the lead there at the end of one, despite the 62% shooting from the Knicks. Score: Knicks 30, Blazers 22.
I feel like Iman Shumpert is almost trollin' with hair that ridiculous.
Second Quarter: Maynor and Lillard kept the net swishing, but the Knicks took advantage of the rookie D for some easy layups at the other end. A Lillard turnover pushed the lead to 10, and former Blazer Marcus Camby had another layup to make it 13. The Blazers stopped the run, pushing back into single digits thanks to a few (lucky) shots by Will Barton. But yet again, the Blazer interior defense betrayed them, and more Knickerbocker dunks and layups drilled that hole back down. Unfortunately for New York, they brought their starters back. In just a couple minutes, Lillard and the Blazers destroyed the Knicks, scoring the last 13 points of the quarter to turn a 10 point deficit into a 3 point lead! The Knicks starters never knew what hit them. Score: Blazers 51, Knicks 48.
IT'S THE MIRACLE MINUTE ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!!
Third Quarter: After three minutes of struggling, a Lillard three-pointer woke the Blazers up. When JJ Hickson hit a layup, the lead reached 8 as the Kicks shots stopped falling. And a Batum steal led to a Lillard layup for the first double-figure Blazer lead, and a Knicks timeout. Ben reminded us (via @Blazersedge) that, as of the 6 minute mark, the Knicks had 6 points in 9:43 of game time. A Lillard jumper pushed the lead to 12, and the Knicks needed a timeout, having reached the "JR Smith drives and tries to draw a foul" play on every possession. However, a Batum three-pointer, followed by Maynor free throws, bumped the lead to 16 as the third quarter ended. Score: Blazers 78, Knicks 62.
So the blazers are on a 40-14 run... that’s good.
Fourth Quarter: The Knicks (primarily Smith) nailed three straight three's to cut into the lead to start the quarter, then a layup to cause a hush in the crowd. The Knicks were quickly back within single digits. JJ turned it over, costing the Blazers big time as a three-pointer cut the lead to 4. After an Aldridge layup, a Blazer broken play (the kind that all season led to an opponent's back-breaking three-pointer) led to a Lillard three-pointer... swish. Knicks timeout back down 9. A beautiful Hickson pass led to a Batum bucket for an 11 point lead, then a Lillard pass to Batum made it 14 again, as the Knicks needed another timeout. After a Kidd turnover out of the timeout, Lillard shot a three-pointer... swish! A 17 point lead for the Blazers! The Knicks made a late run, but it was too late, as the Blazer fans celebrated a hard-earned victory.
Stay tuned for more analysis from Blazer’s Edge later tonight. In the meantime, check out the upcoming Blazers schedule. -- Tim