Portland Trail Blazers (26-41) vs New York Knicks (28-40)
The Portland Trail Blazers take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden for the second game of a long five game road trip. The Blazers are coming off of a loss against the Atlanta Hawks and losses in seven of their last eight. The Knicks are coming off of two straight losses to the Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies on the road and are looking to turn their luck around in the first of a four game home stand.
Wednesday, March 16- 4:30 p.m. PT
How to watch on TV: Root Sports NW, NBA League Pass
Blazers injuries: Damian Lillard (out), Nassir Little (out), Jusuf Nurkic (out), Eric Bledsoe (out), Didi Louzada (out), Joe Ingles (out), Anfernee Simons (out)
Knicks injuries: Derrick Rose (out), Kemba Walker (out), Nerlens Noel (out), Cam Reddish (out), Quentin Grimes (out), Luka Samanic (out)
SBN Affiliate: Posting and Toasting
What To Watch For
- Josh Hart. Until a week ago, the best two game stretch in Josh Hart’s career saw him scoring 51 points combined. That record has since been blown out of the water to the tune of 75 points in his last two contests. With a career high 44 points being followed by a 31 point outburst, all eyes will be on Josh Hart to see if he can continue on his warpath as he seems almost unable to miss.
- Trendon Watford. The young big man has had a week to remember. After setting a career high of 22 against the Utah Jazz, he then beat it in his next game, scoring 27 against the Washington Wizards. He followed his two career highs with another 22 point performance. The undrafted rookie has now scored double digit points in his last six contests and seems poised to have another big game against a short-handed Knicks squad.
- Knicks young guys. With significant injuries to some of the major veterans on the Knicks roster, all eyes turn to the young guys late in the season. Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Jericho Sims, Miles McBride, and Obi Toppin are all playing significant roles for this Knicks team, and are all under the age of 24. The young guys will play a significant role late in New York’s season. Although their hopes at a play-in berth are all but over, the Knicks will most likely still playing hard to get a feel for how their young roster plays together.
What Others Are Saying
Abe Beame of Posting and Toasting talks about Mitchell Robinson and how important he is to this Knicks roster.
This year there are still consistency issues, but the glimpses of Mitch rounding into the double double, game changing monster on defense, on the boards, and around the rim that we’ve all dreamed of, have been more and more frequent. For the full season Mitch is averaging 8.4 points and 8.7 total rebounds, and 1.7 blocks, but since January 1st those numbers have ticked up to 9.5, 9.4, and 1.6.
But the numbers don’t tell the entire story, for me. A “Mitch Game” is truly something to behold. In my platonic version, he’s close to double digits in offensive rebounds alone, he’s shooting, *ahem*, 100% from the field, and he has a major part in persuading any “Relentlessly Attack the Bucket” guys he comes into contact with to disabuse their notions (particularly excited to see how he handles the clear and present danger represented by Ja Morant’s rapacious approaches on Friday night in Memphis). Mitch has the build and approach of a physically dominant 90s center, in a league where there are very few of them left. And the budding roll chemistry he has with RJ Barrett at times achieves Adele Haenel, Noemie Merlant levels of sweet synchronicity.
Daily Knicks’ James Nolan suggests that Immanuel Quickley could be the Knicks’ point guard of the future.
Knicks fans have seen the improvement of Quickley’s passing ability. The 22-year-old is currently averaging 6.8 assists per 100 possessions this season. He’s proven that he can get to the basket and toss up easy lob passes for his teammates to finish at the rim.
New York’s been looking for an answer at the point guard position for what feels like forever now. Maybe the guy who they’ve been looking for is already on their roster. Fans already know that Quickley’s a threat behind the 3-point line and that he has a solid floater.