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Portland Trail Blazers vs. New York Knicks Preview

The Blazers look to build on their win in the Big Apple.

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NBA: New York Knicks at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers (12-9) vs. New York Knicks (10-13)

The Portland Trail Blazers travel to face the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Portland is coming off a huge unexpected win on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers. With only one starter available and nine players dressed, Portland did what few were expecting and beat the number one team in the Eastern Conference. Portland goes into the game against New York looking to continue their winning streak.

Saturday, February 6 - 10:00 a.m. PT
How to watch on TV: NBCSNW, League Pass, or see games all season on fuboTV, follow on ESPN+, or the ESPN/Disney Bundle*
Blazers injuries: Zach Collins (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), CJ McCollum (out), Nassir Little (out), Knicks injuries: Nerlens Noel (out)
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What To Watch For

  • Julius Randle. The New York Knicks power forward has been a force lately. In fact, he’s been playing the best basketball of his career. He’s been playing upwards of 36 minutes a game, averaging 22.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, and six assists in the last 23 games. Expect him to come out and put on a show in Portland
  • CJ Elleby. Portland’s young rookie had himself quite a game on Thursday against the 76ers. Due to the Blazers long list of injured players, Elleby played 31 minutes and made the most of it. He had 15 points, 7 rebounds and 1 assist in the game against Philadelphia. It wouldn’t be surprising to see that momentum continue against the Knicks. Rip City has been raving about the rookie since his big game, and he will be fun to watch from here on out.
  • Portland’s Defense. In a season where defense has not been a strength, the Blazers have continually shown flashes of what they can do defensively against their opponents. Thursday’s game in Philadelphia was a beautiful glimpse of what this team can do defensively. Portland’s defensive ranking is currently 28th, whereas New York’s is 6th. While New York struggles offensively, the Blazers still need to play good defense to seal this win.

What Others Are Saying

With a new coach, and some changes to the roster, the Knicks are making improvements, but it may not just be the coaching or defensive improvements that are contributing to their team looking up. Greg Joyce of the New York Post talks to point guard Elfrid Payton about the team’s efforts.

“Stuff takes time,” Payton said Wednesday after the Knicks’ 107-103 win over the Bulls in Chicago. “Everybody, we live in a world, they want stuff so instant. It takes time to learn people, it takes time for things to work. So I think playing a whole year together, learning each other, learning each other’s strength, working on their games, I think you’re seeing the fruits of their labor. Sometimes you’ve got to take a few L’s.”

The Trail Blazers have been short handed for a large part of the season so far, with Zach Collins, Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum being injured early on. The injuries have continued to come but Portland has held their own. Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian wrote about how the team pulled off the win despite the deck being stacked against them.

Portland coach Terry Stotts said that sometimes when a team is short-handed, the remaining players on the roster find a way to rally together and get the job done. Where this win ranks among his many victories, Stotts said, was difficult to say. But he added that it certainly had significant meaning.

“It will always be a memorable win,” Stotts said.