Written by William Lee
Sunday night New York took on one of the best teams in the league, the Portland Trailblazers. Portland is tied for the second least amount of losses so far this season, with only four defeats. The Knicks so far only have four victories to date…
New York kept up with Portland in the first half, going into intermission down only one possession 53-50. Not a minute into the second half Derek Fisher needed to take a quick timeout with Portland jumping out to a 58-50 lead on a Robin Lopez layup, and Damian Lillard three-pointer.
Coming out of the timeout the Knicks were a lot sharper, going on a 13-5 run to knot the game up at 63 apiece. New York moved the ball well during this stretch, collecting an assist on four of the five made field goals. Carmelo Anthony got Jose Calderon involved, setting him up on consecutive plays. Then Anthony hit a turnaround jumper to tie the game up. Anthony finished the game with a double-double 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Portland started to get away from New York, but Jason Smith stepped up big off the bench, connecting on all three of his shot attempts, keeping the Knicks in the game. The bench was huge for New York Sunday night, the second unit scored 39 points in the game. The Smiths, J.R. Smith and Jason Smith combined for 28 points off the bench.
Wesley Matthews got let loose multiple times from beyond the arc early in the fourth quarter. First on a late close out by Amare Stoudemire, STAT committed the cardinal sin of fouling a jump shooter, a three-point jump shot at that… Then J.R. Smith lost track of Matthews on the next play, and wanting to make up for this Smith aggressively attacked the rim quickly off the inbound. Although Smith finished the difficult layup, he fall out of bounds and lagged behind the play as Portland quickly pushed the ball up. With poor floor balance and players switching defensive matchups Matthews again was wide open from downtown. Matthews made sure to make the Knicks pay, pushing Portland’s lead to the largest in the quarter 92-81.
New York answered with a 16-3 run, taking the lead 97-95 with 3:33 remaining in the game. J.R Smith led the way for the comeback scoring nine of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. Interesting to note Derek Fisher might have the most faith in the following four players outside of superstar Carmelo Anthony, Fisher played Amare Stoudemire, Jason Smith, J.R. Smith, and Pablo Prigioni the entire fourth quarter. Anthony needed to rest, playing most of the third quarter.
With the game on the line, Portland kept feeding Lamarcus Aldridge in the mid-post. Aldridge posted and toasted the Knicks, going on a personal 6-2 run, capping it with a difficult fade away jumper to give the Trail Blazers a three point lead 102-99. Aldridge finished the game with a double-double 24 points and 11 rebounds. New York had their chances, but Portland clamped it down on the defensive end, the Knicks could not convert on their shots. Even so New York had a chance to tie the game with 28.5 seconds remaining in the game, needing one defensive stop, to afford themselves this chance. New York was able to get this coveted stop, but was unable to get the coveted defensive rebound. The Knicks missed five of their last six shots to end the game, sending them to their eighth straight loss 103-99.