This was another rough night for the New York Knicks, who fell to 3-10, tied for 3rd worst record in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets. They looked nothing like the team that took the league-leading Indiana Pacers to overtime less than one week ago. But one man’s slump is another man’s streak, and the Trail Blazers took full advantage at home to extend theirs to 11 wins in a row.
Miscommunications in the New York frontcourt (almost always involving Andrea Bargnani) led to easy points in the paint for Damian Lillard, who waltzed in for an uncontested dunk on more than one occasion. The Knicks defense was so atrocious, and the Blazers offense so fluid, that Portland led by as many as 22 in the 2nd quarter. You know something is amiss when Will Barton sees the court that early.
The urgency just wasn’t there from the Knicks. The entire first half felt like a preseason game, in which 10 different Blazers got their minutes to do with what they pleased. Mo Williams wasn’t even among the players in extended rotation, as he served his one game suspension following the altercation in Golden State. Meanwhile, reasonable play from Carmelo Anthony and unexpectedly solid play from Kenyon Martin could not wake the sleeping Knicks.
They were so gone that they didn’t make a 3-point shot in the entire first half. This is the New York Knicks we’re talking about; the team that led the NBA in 3-pointers attempted and made last year. While New York’s only offensive threat was their star player, Portland skated through the first 21 minutes of play without theirs scoring at all. Aldridge made his first basket with three minutes remaining in the half to restore the Blazers’ lead to 20.
The game tightened up briefly in the third quarter when Carmelo Anthony took on a facilitating role, per Mike Woodson’s halftime adjustments, but the Trail Blazers’ lead was not brought back to single digits until the fourth quarter. The Knicks’ 30-point third was ultimately undone by their shoddy defense, reaching the penalty prior to the start of the fourth.
Before long the Trail Blazers regained momentum on the shoulders of Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews. As often happens when the Knicks trail, Carmelo Anthony returned to hero mode and made the game interesting for stretches, but the damage had been done. A balanced onslaught from the Portland Trail Blazers offense overwhelmed the New York Knicks 102-91. They are now 13-2 on the season.
Portland Trail Blazers leaders:
Nicolas Batum: 23 points, 6 assists, 7 rebounds
Damian Lillard: 23 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds
New York Knicks leader:
Carmelo Anthony: 34 points, 3 assists, 15 rebounds