Blazers clean the glass to hold off Knicks 103-99
It wasn’t easy, but the Portland Trail Blazers maintained their undefeated record against the Eastern Conference 103-99 against the New York Knicks.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Blazers. Robin Lopez had a big offensive rebound on a missed Aldridge jumper which was what sealed the game for Portland.
The Blazers hadn’t exactly dominated the proceedings, but they were winning. It wasn’t impressive, but the Blazers had led for most of the game. In the third quarter they extended their halftime lead and looked like they were a run away from running the Knicks off the court.
Aldridge had it going all night and Damian Lillard was aggressive. Nicolas Batum looked confident shooting from the outside and made a pair of 3’s. Batum also led the Blazers with seven assists.
But the Knicks were right there with the Blazers. JR Smith was hot, scoring 20 points off the bench on 8-of-12 shooting. Carmelo Anthony had a pretty good game and Amar’e Stoudemire looked spry, finishing with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Portland’s bench was productive although nobody had a high-scoring night like Smith. Most notable was the contribution of Steve Blake who did a little bit of everything for the Blazers off the bench. When Matthews picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter, Stotts turned to Blake. Blake finished with five points, six assists and five rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.
Chris Kaman also had an efficient night from the field eight points on 4-of-6 shooting. Allen Crabbe made an impact on the defensive end and in transition. Dorell Wright only played for 2:31 but did make a 3-pointer off the bench.
Portland led by eight going into the fourth quarter and then Matthews started to heat up. But nobody else really had it going in the final period for the Blazers. The Knicks kept attacking and the Blazers were having trouble from the field.
The Knicks went on a 16-3 run in the fourth quarter to give them the lead on an Anthony lay-up with 3:33 left in the game. The Blazers got it together down the stretch and the Knicks also missed a few opportunities with open shots down the stretch.
Aldridge had a fadeaway and some free-throws and Lopez grabbed an offensive board to send Matthews to the line to ice the game.
For the Blazers to win on an offensive rebound was fitting for the night as they grabbed 16 on the night compared to four for New York. Their conversion rate was nothing to write home about with only seven second chance points to show for it but their dominance on the offensive glass Sunday was crucial at game’s end.
- The Blazers are 9-0 against the Eastern Conference. They have a very good chance to go for 10-0 Tuesday at Detroit. Detroit lost to the 76ers on Saturday and lost a close one to the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight for their 12th straight.
- For the second game in a row, turnovers were a part of the Blazers’ success. They forced 14 Knicks turnovers which led to 13 points.
- The Blazers also had a major advantage at the 3-point line. Portland was 10-of-26 from the 3-point line while the Knicks only made five on 19 attempts.