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Defense, Felton lead Knicks past Blazers

Posted By Brandon Marcus On Jan 12 2011 @ 1:18 pm In Portland Trail Blazers | No Comments

The Knicks used strong defense and fourth quarter flurry to down a sluggish Blazers team at the Rose Garden tuesday night, 100-86. New York led almost the entire way, and though it remained close, it never felt close. The Knicks displayed a far more fluid and balanced offensive attack, dishing out 27 assists compared to a mere 8 for the Blazers, who scored just 36 points in the second half.

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Amare Stoudemire and the Knicks pulled away from Portland in the fourth

LaMarcus Aldridge was limited to just 28 minutes with early foul trouble, and Knicks forward Ronny Turiaf defended him extremely well, forcing him to commit 6 turnovers. Turiaf had his best game of the year, with 19 points and 10 rebounds matching the numbers of Aldridge, whose streak of five straight games with 25 + points and 10+ rebounds came to an end.

The Blazers shot just 35% from the floor, but managed to hang around for most of the game by grabbing offensive boards, and getting to the free throw line. Marcus Camby was a big part of that, who despite scoring just 1 point was tremendous with 16 rebounds and six blocks. But after 13 offensive rebounds in the first half, they had only one in the second, and the poor shooting would eventually catch up with them.

An Andre Miller jumper cut the Knick lead to 81-76 with just under seven minutes to play but that was as close as they would get in the fourth. The game was played at Portland’s pace for most of the way but the Knicks clamped down on defense and eventually managed to get their fast break going to take control down the stretch. Two ferocious fast break alley oop dunks by Wilson Chandler sparked a 13-2 that stretched the lead to 16 at 94-78, and that was all she wrote for Portland.

“The Knicks are a pretty good team, especially when they get their running game going,” Portland center Marcus Camby said. “We cut their lead to (five), and they just kicked in fast break after fast break, and that was the ballgame.”

Raymond Felton continues his All-Star caliber play for New York, dominating the fourth quarter, finding open his open teammates to put game away. He finished with 17 points 14 assists and did not commit a single turnover. The Blazers defended Amare Stoudemire well, but he still managed to log his 22nd consecutive 20 point game with 23 points and 9 rebounds.

It was a miserable game for Wes Matthews who had plenty of open looks but couldn’t get anything to fall, going 2-13 from the floor. As Blazers fans are well aware of, if Matthews and Aldridge don’t play well they are going to have a tough time winning. And that’s precisely what happened in this one

Nic Batum had a strong first quarter with 8 points but was silent the rest of the way finishing with just 13. It was good aggressive game for Rudy Fernandez, who continuously attacked the rim, getting to the line 7 times. He finished with 18 points off the bench, and while his energy level was high, according to Coach Nate McMillan, the whole team was just a step slow;

“Reacting defensively … getting to loose balls … we were slow in reacting to everything they did. They were running much faster.”

The Knicks are an explosive offensive ball club, and you knew the Blazers would have to shoot well to keep up, but there just wasn’t much ball movement in this one and that will have to improve.

The Blazers will try to get back on track on friday night against a struggling Phoenix Suns team that got trashed by Denver on tuesday, despite the Carmelo Anthony saga continuing to hanging over their heads.

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