Knicks try to reach .500 mark against Blazers
The New York Knicks will attempt to achieve something they accomplished only six times last season when they host the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks (6-7) will seek to get to .500, a mark they weren't able to reach after January 20 last season when they finished 32-50.
New York has won three of its last four games and is coming off an impressive 104-94 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday in which forward Carmelo Anthony poured in a season-high 31 points. With the many additions, including a new backcourt of Derrick Rose and Courtney Lee and center Joakim Noah, Anthony remains the centerpiece of the team.
The 32-year-old Anthony leads the Knicks in scoring (22.9 points per game), minutes played (33.1) and field goals made (8.5) and attempted (17.8). He added seven rebounds, three assists and two steals to his resume on Sunday.
The attention Anthony continues to draw each game has helped free up his frontcourt mate Kristaps Porzingis, who is averaging 20 points and seven rebounds.
“Without Melo (Anthony),” Porzingis said, “it would be so much more difficult (for me) to get 30 points, or whatever. People don't realize that. He draws a lot of attention. He's the main focus for the other team.
“That opens stuff for me. Without him it would be much more difficult. I'm happy to have aggressive guys like him and (Derrick) Rose so I can get those open looks.”
Portland (8-7) ended a three-game losing streak with a 129-109 win over the Nets in Brooklyn on Sunday. C.J. McCollum led the attack with 33 points, five assists and five rebounds.
Swingman Evan Turner came off the bench to deliver his best performance since signing with Portland as a free agent from Boston. He scored 19 points and made eight of his 12 shots from the floor.
“I think you need to get in there a little bit,” said Turner on finding his spots. “One of the biggest things is the consistency of it and talking about it. I think in the past four or five games, I have gotten to my spots. Things just haven't fallen, but once again, as a team and myself, we're just trying to build consistency.
“We need everybody clicking in order to win. Right now, we're starting to find more chemistry outside our main contributors, whether it be myself and Meyers (Leonard) trying to work the pick and roll — I think that's the biggest thing.”
Portland used a 27-9 run in the third quarter to pull away from the Nets.
“We pretty much took over the game in that quarter on the defensive end and that kind of sparked everything and I think that's what I was the most proud of,” said Portland guard Damian Lillard.
“We had more of a presence on the ball. The first half I think we had trouble controlling the ball and from top to bottom guys were taking it from the perimeter and getting it to the rim. “