This west coast trip seemed like it could be a tough one for the New York Knicks and three games in, it has proven to be even tougher than anyone imagined.
Thursday night’s 105-90 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers means the Knicks have lost their last three contests by an average of 22.3 points.
This one came without the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, who joined Amar’e Stoudemire on the sidelines with injuries. It’s hard to compete when your best three players aren’t on the floor, but the Knicks competed for a bit before a 13-0 Portland run gave them a 51-48 halftime lead.
By the end of the third quarter all Blazers starters scored in double figures and J.J. Hickson had a nice line of 12 points and 15 rebounds.
New York made it interesting in the fourth quarter, pulling within seven with just over six minutes left, but the Blazers stuck the fork in the Knicks with an 8-0 spurt in just over a minute.
Without Chandler in the lineup, the Blazers shot 51.3 percent from the floor and scored 40 points in the paint.
Here’s a look at how each Knicks player graded out in another disappointing loss.
Raymond Felton (11 points, 4-of-12 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals)
Felton does not look very good on the floor very often anymore. He was the only true starter on the floor last night and the Knicks needed a big game from him, but he scored only four points and dished out three assists in the first half. When the team makes 36 shots from the floor and your point guard finishes with only three assists, it speaks volumes about your offense. In addition Felton continues to get torched by opposing point guards as Damian Lillard finished with 26 points and 10 assists. Grade: C-
Iman Shumpert (6 points, 3-of-9 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 assist)
It would have been nice to see back-to-back good performances from Shump, but that didn’t happen as the second-year guard continues to struggle at both ends of the floor. He was a non-factor offensively and when he took his turn guarding Lillard, the results weren’t much better than Felton’s. Grade: D+
Chris Copeland (9 points, 3-of-8 shooting, 1 rebound, 1 steal)
Mike Woodson started Copeland instead of James White hoping to take advantage of Copeland’s offensive ability, but Woodson didn’t allow him to become a factor. He scored nine points, but he was the one to go to the bench early for J.R. Smith instead of playing them together. He finished tied for a game-high plus-six rating, which shows how bad everyone else was, but wasn’t put in a good spot to succeed. In addition, a 6’8″ forward has to be able to grab more than one rebound in 21 minutes. Grade: C-
Kurt Thomas (6 points, 3-of-3 shooting, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block)
Thomas got the start and played 24 minutes, turning in a very efficient performance. He made all three of his shots and pulled down seven rebounds. I will take that from the oldest player in the NBA. He also dished out as many assists as Felton did. Grade: B
Kenyon Martin (12 points, 6-of-10 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block)
Martin started for Chandler and played 31 minutes, which is probably twice as many as he should get. He had a very good first half with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, but slowed considerably in the second half. K-Mart finished with an eye-popping minus-21 rating on the night. Grade: C+
Steve Novak (0 points, 0-of-2 shooting, 1 rebound)
Novak’s minutes continue to go down, playing only nine on the night as he continues to offer very little value. Grade: F
Marcus Camby (8 points, 4-of-6 shooting, 10 rebounds, 3 assists)
I still believe Camby should get more minutes. He was very solid against the Blazers, scoring eight efficient first half points and grabbed 10 boards in only 19 minutes. Grade: B+
Jason Kidd (3 points, 1-of-8 shooting, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal)
Kidd had yet another disappointing night. He played major minutes (34) and didn’t impact the game, throwing up bricks on six of his seven attempts from behind the arc. In addition he only dished out two assists and grabbed two rebounds despite the heavy workload. Definitely a non-Kidd like performance. Grade: D
Pablo Prigioni (2 points, 1-of-3 shooting, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals)
Prigioni played 15 minutes and performed nicely, filling the stat sheet during that span. He played good defense and was a plus-six on the night. Grade: B
J.R. Smith (33 points, 11-of-21 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)
Smith was the Knicks only true scoring option and had a decent first half with nine points, but also committed three turnovers. Smith came alive in the second half, but most of his teammates just decided to watch. Most of Smith’s numbers just padded his stats as they came when the game was decided. He did score 33 points, but was also a minus-12 on the night. Grade: B+
Carmelo Anthony: DNP (knee)
Tyson Chandler: DNP (knee)
James White: DNP (Coach’s Decision)
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.