The New York Knicks entered the Rose Garden last night only to lose to their third straight game, falling to the much younger, healthier Portland Trail Blazers, 105-90. The Knicks were without their three highest paid players in Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Amare Stoudemire, whom are all dealing with knee issues. If you didn’t catch the entire game, I bet your not wondering if the Knicks won or lost, but how bad they lost, considering the over 50 million dollars worth of All-Stars not on the court. The score shows a 15 point margin of victory for the Blazers, but that wasn’t the case from the tip-off.
The Knicks, despite facing their darkest period as a team this season, punched the Blazers in the mouth right out of the gate, making it look they may pick up their cheapest win of the season. Showing some vintage defense and rebounding spear-headed by Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas, the Knicks were up by double digits throughout a good portion of the first quarter. Eventually, the Blazers rookie point guard, Damian Lillard, completely took over.
The Blazers officially shifted the momentum of the game when they went into the half on a 13-0 run, capitalizing on the Knicks inability to score. After a 5-27 shooting stretch from the Knicks in the third quarter, it was clear to see that JR Smith is simply not enough offensive fire power, especially with his inconsistency. Giving credit where credit’s due, Smith seemed to do everything he can, finishing with 33 points on an impressive 11-21 shooting from the field. Although it’s not Smith’s first time dropping over 30 points this season, he is in fact the only Knickerbocker not named Carmelo Anthony to reach that total this season.
After a fourth quarter spark by the Knicks led by Smith, the Blazers eventually closed the door on the comeback behind Lillard’s efficient 26 points, 10 assist, 11-18 shooting performance.
The initial effort by the Knicks was impressive, they also showed fight, which is an aspect about this team that’s often questioned. Despite the sense of urgency to start the game, the Knicks eventually succumbed to the much more spry Blazers.
The Knicks will look to the get their first win on this west-coast road swing, when they travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Sunday. It is unknown whether or not Anthony and Chandler will be back in the lineup.