Knicks lose tough battle with Portland

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KNICKS PLAY TOUGH VS PORTLAND BUT LOSE

Against one of the top teams in the West, the Knicks gave an impressive effort.

Knicks Fan TV Postgame

REMI SE'S GAME NOTES

The Knicks dropped their sixth straight in a heartbreaker to the Western conference leading Portland Trail Blazers 118-114. David Fizdale’s newest rotation created better spacing than the team has seen all season, knocking down 13 of 29 three pointers and keeping pace with one of the best teams in the league. The vets led the way and the kids held strong for most of the night, but the combination of Damian Lillard and CJ Mccollum proved to be just a little too much in crunch time. Let’s take a closer look:

Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke continued their strong play in roles as starting PG and sixth man. The two combined for 35 points and 7 assists as the Knicks lead ball handlers for the majority of the night. Mudiay is scoring with confidence that he hasn’t shown before, be it on drives to the rack or pulling up for three. Burke, meanwhile, has found the rhythm that carried him through most of last season. The two guards shot a scorching 14 for 24 from the field and made 5 of 9 from three. There may have been some opportunities to create, but it’s hard to complain with that level of efficiency.

As well as the point guards performed, it was Tim Hardaway who led the way once again with his third consecutive 30-point game. Hardaway’s 32 points led all players, but he also made big plays down the stretch, and beyond just scoring. He added 4 assists and 5 rebounds, coming through with the kind of well-rounded performance that a franchise needs from its best player.

The rookies showed a lot of fluidity playing within the second unit. While Trey Burke was the focal point of their offense, the kids moved the ball quickly and decisively around him. Mitch Robinson continues to be a standout as he was disruptive all night. Robinson had 2 blocks and 2 steals to go along with a number of shots changed inside the painted area. He does have to learn to expect the pass more often, however. His hands are good when he fights for boards but the guards have collectively struggled to get him the ball without a bobble or a turnover.

We probably shouldn’t expect the bigs to hit threes the way they did tonight. But the spacing doesn’t seem like a fluke. The Knicks ran a lot of three guard sets and even went with four guards late. Both Hezonja and Knox are trigger happy from three which can be troublesome, but demands attention. This made the off ball screens and cuts effective virtually all night regardless of who received the ball. The motion away from the ball handler picked up and the results were a lot of easy looks.

The team defense deserves some credit in spite of the result tonight. Against players the quality of Damian Lillard and CJ Mccollum, you hope to make them work moreso than shut them down. For most of the night, the Knicks accomplished as much. Frank Ntilikina’s defense stood out when he matched with Mccollum in the first half and he found fourth quarter minutes trying to contain the Blazers guard again. Collectively the Knicks had stronger rotations and an overall better effort with the main blemish being fouls on three point shooters multiple times.

Last but not least, Noah Vonleh had himself a game. He knocked down a couple of three balls and had a highlight reel dunk in route to 14 points and 14 rebounds. He’s also one of the most consistent defensive players on the team. While Mitch has higher highs with foul trouble lows; Vonleh tends to be a steady presence helping as a four next to Kanter or small ball five. He gives the nightly effort that this New York fanbase can and should appreciate.

Highlights from the game