Two weeks after the Portland Knicks didn’t make a sweeping comeback when they couldn’t stop All-Star Guardian Damian Lillard, they more than asserted themselves in the point guard battle against the Trail Blazers to their second straight win.
Elfrid Payton scored 22 points in his second strong performance in a row and rookie backup Immanuel Quickley kicked 12 points off the bench in 13 minutes when the Knicks Lillard and the Blazer for a 110 -99 win on Saturday at the Garden.
Julius Randle added 22 points and 11 rebounds, RJ Barrett scored 18 and Alec Burks nailed four 3-pointers off the bench for 16 points for the Knicks that came in on Sunday afternoon Playing at home against the heat will be garden and Tuesday nights in Miami. The Knicks (11-13) only achieved their 11th win in their 40th game last season and only won their 12th win in their 44th competition.
“I think the focus of the season was on of daily improvement. So that hasn’t changed, ”Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game that his team had completed a third of the 72-game schedule. « Obviously there are some things we do well and some things we don’t do as well as we’d like.
» But we want to focus on each game, what exactly lies ahead of us, and develop the right habits. « We have a lot of young players who we want to develop over the course of the season. We also want to challenge our veterans to improve. I think we have a good balance with our squad, but it’s still one Long way. «
Lillard, who was back in the Blazer line-up with an abdominal injury after missing Thursday’s game against the 76ers, finished the game with 29 points – 10 fewer than he was against in Portland on January 24th the Knicks had done.
Former Knicks star Carmelo Anthony missed seven of eight shots and scored a season low of two points off the bench for the Blazer. He stayed eleven behind Oscar Robertson and finished 12th on the all-time NBA list.
The Knicks scored the first six points of the game but were drawn 10-10 with four minutes remaining, with five each Starter hit an early bucket. This equilibrium continued for the rest of the quarter – with no Knicks starter having less than four points or more than six (Randle). But Lillard’s 13 points in the session, including a 30-foot boat 1.2 seconds ahead, gave Portland a 31-26 lead.
Two 3-pointers from Burks pulled the Knicks early in the second, and a couple of Quickley drives kept them within 42-41 mid-way through the period.
Quickley had hit a career high of 31 in 24 minutes the last time they met the Blazers, but Payton played the entire first quarter on Saturday after scoring 20 points in Wednesday’s win in Chicago.
Barrett (who finished with the team’s top 12 in the half) and Payton bonded remotely as the Knicks finished the second quarter with a 16th : 5 lead ended to bring a 57: 51 lead into the break.
Barrett and Payton’s buckets to reopen the third margin extended the Knicks’ pillow to 10. Randle then responded twice to 3- Pointer by Rodney Hood and Lillard with jumpers v on outside the arc for a 67-57 game, just under three minutes into the second half. Payton finished the quarter with 10 for an 84-76 lead in the final 12 minutes.
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