Lillard “Spirals” Knicks Out of Gym — Dec 10, 2019: Portland 115 NY 87

The Portland Trail Blazers had superstar Damian Lillard and the Knicks didn’t. Lillard went on his usual rampage to run the Knicks out of the gym. At the other end of the court, the Knicks couldn’t shoot straight: NY’s guards were outclassed:

  •  Frank Ntilikina (1-5 for 2 pts, a -21) and his “spider” defense was no match for Lillard’s scoring ability.
  • The tenacious defense of Elfrid Payton couldn’t stop him either and Payton was another guy not shooting well (2 pts in 13 minutes on 1-4, 0-2 from 3). Although Payton was only a -2.
  • Dennis Smith Jr was 2-7 (0-2 from 3) for 5 pts, and a -8.
  • RJ Barrett was 1-9 for 5 pts and a -18.

Game “Spiraled Away” from Knicks

As coach Mike Miller put it afterwards, when Lillard went on his roll, especially hitting 3’s, the Knicks tendency was to come down and shoot quickly to “strike back” instead of patiently moving the ball for the best shot, and on top of that the Knicks were missing their shots, causing the game to “spiral away” from them.

Lillard was aided by Hassan Whiteside, who rampaged underneath the basket (17 pts on 7-11, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks). Mitchell Robinson (5-8, 14 pts, 5 rebounds, 1 block in 27 minutes) played well enough.

Knicks Couldn’t Shoot Straight

Julius Randle (6-11, 15 pts, 7 rebounds), Marcus Morris (4-11, 10 pts) and Bobby Portis (4-9, 11 pts, 10 rebounds) put up seemingly fine shooting numbers — until you looked at the 3-pt shooting:

  • Randle 1-4 from 3
  • Morris 1-6 from 3
  • Portis 0-3 from 3
  • And Kevin Knox: 0-4 from 3

Trier Excels; Breen Craps on Him As Usual

In the 4th quarter with the Knicks down 30, Allonzo Trier came in — and immediately went on his own little scoring rampage — 4-9 (2-5 from 3) for 13 pts in 14 minutes and a team-best -1. He played earnest, “ok” defense — staying on his man. He passed. Trier was probably the second-best scorer on the court for the evening. Knick analyst Mike Breen threw in his usual dig on Trier’s defense, saying words to the effect that Trier ‘has shown the ability to score, he just needs to play consistent defense’ — Breen with “old man’s disease” has a habit of creating reputations for players by repeating the same thing over and over about them even if it was not true in a particular game.

Knox and Carmelo

Knox was horrid — 1-7 and with the 0-4 from 3 mentioned above — his one basket was a beauty — a drive into the lane then a reverse-direction lefty layup in the 4th quarter — that had Knick announcers Mike Breen and Wally Sczerbiak preening about his potential.

Carmelo Anthony wasn’t shooting well until getting buckets late in the 4th — a drive to the basket, then a couple of 3’s — to finish with 16 points on 5-13 shooting. He finished with a +12 as did everyone playing on the court with Lillard — CJ McCullum had a bad shooting night (5-14 but 1-8 from 3 for 13 pts) but still finished with a +11.


Mario Hezonja came off the bench for 5 pts, 10 rebounds in 23 minutes. He has gone on records as saying he wanted to stay in NY with the Knicks but they never gave him a contract offer.

Add that to Carmelo Anthony, who continues to say how much he loved playing in NY — and it is difficult to understand why many fans still think elite players don’t want to play in NY because of Knicks owner James Dolan.

Damyean Dotson played ok in the 4th — 3-8 (2-6 from 3) for 8 pts and a -8.

The Boxscore

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