Reeling Knicks drop 10th straight, 115-87 to Trail Blazers
In the wake of an easy win, the Portland Trail Blazers agreed they needed the rout for their own morale.
Damian Lillard had 31 points, including eight 3-pointers, and Portland handed the wretched New York Knicks their 10th straight loss, 115-87 on Tuesday night.
“Anytime you have that type of win, and the way that we did it, I think we should feel good about it, especially in a game that we feel we should have won,” Lillard said.
Hassan Whiteside added 17 points and 15 rebounds as the Blazers ended a two-game skid. Portland led by as many as 32.
“Those kind of games feel good,” coach Terry Stotts weighed in.
Julius Randle had 15 points for the Knicks, who have won just four games, fewest in the NBA. They have one victory on the road.
The Knicks opened their four-game West Coast trip in disarray after coach David Fizdale was fired on Friday, just hours after he ran practice. Mike Miller was named interim head coach, and New York lost 104-103 at home to Indiana the next night.
“In an 82-game schedule you may have some nights where it won’t go in, and we found ourselves in that,” Miller said.
In Portland, New York faced Carmelo Anthony, who played for the Knicks from 2011-17.
When the Blazers picked up Anthony on Nov. 19, the 10-time All-Star had been out of the game for more than a year. But he has fit in well with Portland as a starter, averaging nearly 16 points and six rebounds a game.
Anthony finished with 16 points.
“We were locked in, since this morning, since shootaround, we were locked in,” Anthony said. “Dame came out and led us, Hassan played great, but I thought overall defense was what got us going. We were talking, we were active, a lot of energy on the defensive end.”
Portland was coming off a 108-86 defeat at home to Oklahoma City on Sunday, with the team still reeling from the loss of Rodney Hood, who tore his left Achilles tendon in a loss to the Lakers on Friday. Hood will miss the rest of the season.
Lillard’s step-back 3 put the Blazers up 32-22 at the end of the first quarter. Lillard had 17 points in the opening period.
Portland led by as many as 21 in the half and was up 60-41 at the break behind 25 points from Lillard.
The Knicks were 2 of 15 from 3-point range in the first half and 7 of 38 for the game.
Lillard’s 28-foot 3-pointer put the Blazers up 74-47 midway through the third quarter. He didn’t play in the fourth.
Anthony and CJ McCollum went to the bench for good early in the fourth. Miller also sat his starters for much of the final period.
“It was a team we felt we should (beat) on our home floor, but I thought our approach and how we came out, not looking like it was going to be an easy game or nothing like that – we respected our opponent,” Lillard said. “We did the right things defensively, we executed our scouting report and offensively we executed as well as we have in a while, maybe all season.”
Knicks: New York hasn’t beaten Portland since November 2016, losing six straight. … Mitchell Robinson added 14 points for his ninth game in double figures this season. … Miller was asked about whether the team was down after the lopsided loss: “I think it’s hard anytime when that happens. That’s maybe the biggest challenge for any team is when someone is going good, you try to answer, and you miss a few of those shots.”
Trail Blazers: A report surfaced earlier Tuesday that Kevin Love, currently with the Cleveland Cavaliers, would be interested in playing for Portland. Love grew up in Oregon and was a star at Lake Oswego High School. The Blazers are considered candidates to make deals when trade restrictions lift on Dec. 15 because of their need at forward.
IN THE ZONE
The Blazers went to a zone defense on a couple of possessions. Stotts said the team was just experimenting.
“The way things are going, we are trying different things, different lineups,” he explained. “I talked to the assistants earlier today about, what can we look at? We are trying to find different things.”
The Knicks’ road swing continues at Golden State on Wednesday night.
The Trail Blazers visit Denver on Thursday, the first of a two-game trip.