Almost Came Back. 4 Reasons Why Portland 116 NY 113 on 1/24/21

Portland got off to a big 20-point lead in the first half, but the Knicks didn’t quit and made this one razor close in the final minute — not a bad loss, but a loss. In Portland. How it went down:

1. Lillard & Portland Rained 3’s to Get Ahead

Portland was 12-21 from 3 in the first half.  The Knicks were 6-13 from 3. An 18-pt difference. And that is why Portland led by as many as 25 points in the first half, and 20 at the half, 70-50.

The Knicks had pulled to within 14 just before the half, but Portland pulled back to the 20-pt lead.

Damian Lillard was un-guardable. He finished the game with 39 points on 11-17 shooting, 6-10 from 3, and 11-11 from the free throw line, along with 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and a +11. Elfrid Payton couldn’t guard him, Austin Rivers couldn’t guard him, Emmanuel Quickley couldn’t guard him.

Anfernee Simons came off Portland’s bench to rip the Knicks for 6-9 shooting (4-6 from 3) for 16 points, and Derrick Jones Jr, the starting small forward, had 14 pts on 5-8 shooting (1-3 from 3).

Portland was well rested — having not having played a game in a week due to two COVID cancelled games.

2. Quickley Led Knicks Back

Sometimes the best Defense is a good Offense — the Knicks deployed this to get back into it as Immanuel Quickley went NUTS in the 4th quarter, scoring 21 of his 31 points to bring the Knicks back. He finished with 31 points on 9-18 shooting (5-8 from 3, 8-8 from the free throw line) and 4 assists.

Alec Burks also starting popping 3’s (6-9 shooting, 5-8 from 3) for 18 points.

RJ Barrett had the rare off game — 8 pts on 4-9 shooting in only 23 minutes — Thibodeau sitting him in lieu of the Quickley/Burks backcourt that got the Knicks back into it.

3. Old Knick Friends Melo & Kanter Contributed

Old Knick friend Carmelo Anthony came off the bench for 12 pts on 3-14 shooting (2-10 from 3, 4-4 in free throws), and Enes Kanter — who starts at center for Portland — had 8 pts on 4-5 shooting, and 8 rebounds in 24 minutes — a +7. Mitchell Robinson matched him with 8 pts and 9 rebounds (a +0) in 26 minutes. Randle had 25 pts (7-18 shooting, 1-1 from 3, 10-11 in free throws), 7 rebounds, and 5 assists before fouling out with 6 fouls.

4. Knicks Couldn’t Quite Finish

Kanter blocked a Randle inside shot with a minute left that — had Randle made it, would have pulled the Knicks to within 2 points. But alas, it stayed 106-102 Portland, and Melo got fouled at the other end by Randle, made his free throws and mostly put away the game at 108-102 Portland.

Two old friends.

The Boxscore

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