With how many close games the Portland Trail Blazers have had, it was certainly nice for Tuesday night’s game to be over within a quarter.
Damian Lillard had 31 points, including 17 in the first quarter, Hassan Whiteside had 17 points, 15 rebounds and 5 blocks, and the Blazers rode a 19 point first half lead to victory over the New York Knicks, 115-87. Julius Randle had 15 points to pace the visitors.
Here are tonight’s takeaways:
- Simons Stays Hot: Anfernee Simons continued his strong December to this point with - points on 5-of-8 shooting for 14 points. This is his third double-digit scoring game off of the bench in five December games. With the Blazers badly missing the scoring of Rodney Hood, Simons is contributing.
- Anthony Cooling Off: On the flip side of that coin, Carmelo Anthony is coming back to Earth after a powerful November. He shot just 5-of-13 from the field, boosted heavily by a strong fourth quarter after the game was out of reach. The former All-Star seems to be pressing to be the third scorer the Blazers need.
- Pressure Around the Edges: The biggest key for Portland’s victory was New York’s abysmal shooting from three. The Knicks hit just 7-of-38 from behind the arc, while Portland shot much better (18-of-42). With that level of three-point difference, it is easy to see how the Blazers cruised in this game.
- Massive blowout: The 87 points given up by the Blazers is their fewest of the season, and their fewest allowed since allowing 81 against the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 4, 2018.
Portland travels to Denver to face the underachieving Nuggets on Thursday.