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Portland Trail Blazers at New York Knicks Preview

The Blazers try for their first three-game winning streak of the year when they face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden tonight.

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NBA: Toronto Raptors at New York Knicks Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (12-8) at New York Knicks (10-9)

Monday, November 27th - 4:30 p.m. PT
Blazers injuries: Al-Farouq Aminu (out)
Knicks injuries: Joakim Noah (day-to-day), Kristaps Porzingis (day-to-day), Enes Kanter (day-to-day)
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
How to stream: YouTube Live TV, Playstation Vue, Hulu Live TV, FuboTV, NBA League Pass (outside of Portland)
Radio: 620 AM
SBN Affiliate: Posting and Toasting

The Blazers won their second squeaker in a row on Saturday, a remarkable 108-105 come-from-behind victory against the Washington Wizards. Down 17 points in the fourth quarter, the Blazers never quit and rode an incredible last two minutes from CJ McCollum to pull victory out of the fire.

The Knicks are returning from a quick two-day road trip, playing the Atlanta Hawks on Friday and the Houston Rockets on Saturday. Both were losses, the latter being a 117-102 defeat in Houston after an electric start by the Knicks, leading by as much as 22 in the first quarter. The Knicks were without Porzingis and Kanter. Both players should be back when they face the Blazers, however, and New York will be playing at home where they have a gaudy 9-2 record this season.

What to Watch For

  • Are Porzingis and Kanter healthy? Indications are that both are likely to play, but will they play long minutes and at a high level? If they do, the Blazers will have their hands full. The two big men account for nearly 41 points and 17 rebounds a game on average. Porzingis especially is a difficult match-up if Kanter is also drawing attention. If both play, keeping Porzingis under 25 points and the pair under 15 rebounds would be an achievement for Portland.
  • Can the Blazers keep Tim Hardaway Jr. from having a big night? Hardaway Jr. is having a good year, averaging 18.2 points per game and providing solid defense. The danger for the Blazers, though, is that he’s had a number of huge nights along the way. He scored over 25 points five times so far this year, twice scoring over 30. Portland needs to keep Hardaway Jr. at or below his average, especially if New York’s bigs show up to play.
  • Can the Blazers win the game at the 3-point line? No team in the NBA allows more 3-point attempts than the Knicks. Against Houston on Saturday, the Rockets attempted 47 3-pointers while the Knicks tried only 17. If the New York allows the Blazers to get anywhere near that many attempts and the Blazers can approach their season average of 38.3 percent from beyond the arc, expect a very good night for the men from the Rose City.

What They’re Saying

Rookie Frank Ntilikina is on his way to becoming a New York folk hero according to Jason Concepcion of The Ringer:

Frank is 19 years old. Frank was 5 when LeBron was a rookie. Yet when the greatest player of his generation, and of most generations, called him out, Frank didn’t back down. He went out of his way to jostle the bully and let him know that he’s there. Who knows what kind of career Ntilikina ends up having? Maybe he figures out his jumper, maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he develops an NBA-level handle, maybe he doesn’t. But that willingness to fight for a place on the court cannot be taught.

Ex-Blazer Jarrett Jack is filling a few non-flashy roles quite admirably in New York writes Fred Kerber of the New York Post, but he can also turn on the scoring when necessary:

The same words are used about Jarrett Jack day in, day out, game after game. Leader. He gets the Knicks in the right spots from his point guard position. Mentor. He is helping rookie Frank Ntilikina navigate the NBA minefield. Professional. Veteran. You’ve heard them.

But Monday night at several points in the Knicks’ 107-85 victory over the woeful Clippers, Jack had to be much more. He had to be a real take-charge guy, a scorer.

Joe Flynn of Posting and Toasting came out of his post-Thanksgiving-meal-stupor to reflect on what he is thankful for. These Knicks aren’t the laughingstock of the league anymore:

—I’m thankful for the offense, which remains in the top 10 in the NBA despite a lack of an elite floor general in this, the Era of the Point Guard.

—I’m (somewhat) thankful for the defense, which has crept all the way up to the realm of decency (16th in the NBA in D-rating).

—I’m thankful for Tim Hardaway Jr., who came here under the cloud of a massive contract, but who is kicking ass at the moment. Let’s appreciate his 38-point performance against the Raptors.

Read the whole thing. Knicks fans have some genuine hope for the first time in a long time.