The New York Knicks are 3-9, on a five-game losing streak, and the only two Eastern Conference teams worse than them are the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. In short, the Knicks haven’t been very good thus far, and the Portland Trailblazers (12-2) won’t be the easy win they desperately need.
The Knicks offense has been awful, with poor execution and little-to-no ball movement. Things won’t be helped by Raymond Felton being likely to miss the game, although Beno Udrih has done a solid job as his replacement. They are coming off a terrible loss to Washington Saturday and the team has no identity. Not one person, but the entire team must step up if they have any hope of defeating this red hot Portland team.
The Trailblazers rank in the top ten in each of the following categories: points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, and points allowed per game. They’ve won ten in a row, led by the all-star level play of LaMarcus Aldridge (22.3 PPG and 9.6 RPG). Expect to see reigning Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard, come up big, as the Knicks have been unable to keep opposing point guards at bay.
Where: The Moda Center
Time: 10 p.m. EST
Key Matchup: Can the Knicks contain the Trailblazers’ big men?
With Tyson Chandler out another two weeks with a broken leg, the Knicks have been getting all they can out of Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin. But will that be enough to contain red hot LaMarcus Aldridge? Coming off a 30 point, 21 rebound performance, Aldridge is poised to dominate New York’s diminished front line.
K-Mart will do all he can in the minutes he plays, but besides him there is minimal rim protection on the team. Bargnani’s lack of skill in the rebounding department will leave Aldridge open for put backs and many second chance points.
It’s also worth noting that Robin Lopez can have solid output when given the chance and he could perform well against the weak front court the Knicks will put out on the floor.
Prediction: The Knicks have an extremely tough game coming up against this hot Trailblazer team, but they must do everything they can do get out of this slump. Beating this early Western Conference juggernaut would do a lot to help their credibility, as they continue to preach that they can compete for a title. The likelihood the Knicks win easily, if at all, is slim, but there is enough talent on the team to pull it out, especially if Carmelo Anthony comes up huge and the Knicks can keep Aldridge in check.