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BLAZERS GRADED: Portland 101, New York 79

Monday, December 29, 2014


The Knicks, owners of the second worst record in the NBA, were without a myriad of rotation players, Sunday. Amare Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert, JR Smith, Andrea Barngani and Samuel Dalembert all sat out. At halftime they were joined by Carmello Anthony.

Not that any of them would've made much of a difference. The Knicks are atrocious and the Blazers are scorching.

Portland got off to an 11-2 start, Sunday at Moda Center, and never looked back. From the second quarter on, the Blazers led by double-digits.

A game after hitting seven three-pointers, Wesley Matthews' hot shooting continued through the first half as he rang up five more. (From there on out, however, he got a little trigger-happy, finishing 6-of-a-staggering-15 from behind the arc.)

Nicolas Batum drilled four three's of his own by intermission, and the Blazers took a 55-41 lead into the break.

As the teams returned to the court, Carmello Anthony did not. The Knicks cited a sore knee, but as much as anything they were essentially conceding defeat, resting their star in the process.

Indeed, much Friday's game against the league-worst 76ers, this one was never really in doubt.


Batum had his best shooting night of the year. He made 5-of-7 tries from beyond the arc, the first time this season he's made more than two three-pointers. And while he left the box score a little empty, adding only three assists and one rebound, his 17 points were a season high.

Getting the start in place of LaMarcus Aldridge, who's still suffering from an upper-respiratory illness, Robinson provided hustle and energy, but little of the finer things. Despite starting, Robinson played only 13 minutes. He scored five points and grabbed four boards.

While a good deal of Freeland's 10 points and 10 rebounds came in garbage time, he was sturdy, particularly on the defensive end, where he had a pair of emphatic, highlight-worthy blocks. 

A game after hitting seven three's, Matthews' piled up six more (though he did take an absurd 15 attempts). With Aldridge out, Matthews' game-high 28 points provided a bulk of Portland's scoring. 

Lillard was in a simple, paced, facilitating mode, Sunday, which was all the Blazers needed from him. He finished with 11 points, six assists and four blocks.

After missing Friday's game for the birth of his son, Barrett, Kaman came back active and effective. In 20 minutes he piled up 13 points, nine boards, two assists and a block.


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