Portland, RAW – Another game out of the West. Another two-digit bullet choke away, and that’s the most shameful.
The Knicks muzzled a 23-point advantage in the second half on Saturday as the Trail Blazers pounded them in a stunning 112-103 victory that came from behind at the Moda Center.
The Blazers scored 40-16 in the second half and outplayed the Knicks 35-11 in the fourth quarter of Hell. That left Knicks facing a long-distance trip home after such a terrible defeat. They shot 3 for 18 in the fourth quarter and the 19-7 was obliterated on the boards.
Coach Tom Tebodeau questioned his team’s solidity afterwards.
“We just have to find a way to get it done,” Tibodo said. “That’s what durability is all about. That’s why competitiveness, toughness, that’s all that matters. Discipline.”
The Knicks went 1-4 in their western swing. In three of those losses, the Knicks had a double-digit lead, including a 21-point bulge against the Lakers on February 5 to open the trip. With Saturday’s loss, they fell to 25-32 on the season, wasting one of Kemba Walker’s last best games and couldn’t build on Thursday’s stunning win at Golden State.
“I just collapsed,” said Walker, who finished with 23 points, scoring 7-12 with four three-pointers. “It was an uphill ride for us, it wasn’t a good one. We had one good win. We were hoping to build that one win [Saturday] Unfortunately, we did not. Obviously it wasn’t a really good trip for us. ”
The Blazers (23-34) are out of a final sale deal on schedule, but they still have young Anfernee Simons, who finished the game with 30 points. Newly acquired Josh Hart scored 23 goals in his debut for the Blazers.
Randle continued his Western career with 28 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, but it was all in vain. He scored only four points in the fourth quarter.
“It was bad,” Randell said. “We were pretty much rolling the whole game. We have to finish the trip. end of story. I don’t care what it is. Over 20 in third place, I have to finish it.
“We have to have more awareness throughout the match,” Randel added. “As a captain I have to have more awareness of what is going on. When they do a run like this we have to make sure we get a good shot at the offensive end and be more aware when Simmons does that.”
And the Knicks seemed to have had a meltdown lately, with their 10-day, five-game trip stalking them while the Blazers were coming off a three-day break. But Tibodo said there are no excuses.
“Sometimes it’s in your favour, sometimes it’s not,” Tibodo said of the schedule. “Everyone goes on long road trips. It’s a part of it. Durability is that you’re on the road for a long time; there may be some tiredness, but you still have the ability to do all the necessary things, even though you may not feel better.”
‘We depend on each other to get the job done. So, five guys together in attack and five guys together in defense. If someone chooses not to – even if they don’t go their own way, it will hurt the group.’
Knicks was rolling along with the buzzing walker and Randle dominated, having every ride. But Randle, who faced the tough doubles teams, was silent, making two back-to-back turns during the fourth-quarter blitz — bouncing a ball off his foot and out of bounds, then firing a pass that was intercepted.
Finally, the intrepid Blazers took the lead at 3:20 from the end of the game by Jusuf Nurkic as they dominated the interior and the Knicks looked tired.
The Knicks had no help from Evan Fournier, who was 1 to 13 for four points. Mitchell Robinson suffered an injury-ravaged nightmare, finishing the game with two points without any rebounds before leaving with an ankle injury in the third quarter.
The Knicks, already without Nirlance Noel, struggled in the center as Randle needed to play the center at one point.
“Rebound has been an issue,” Tibodo said.
As is their season.