Portland cruises past New York
Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Damian Lillard scored 26 points and dished out 10 assists and LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers took a 105-90 decision over the New York Knicks, on Thursday.
J.J. Hickson had 12 points and pulled down a game-high 16 boards for the Trail Blazers, who had a two-game losing skid come to an end. Nicolas Batum had 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting from behind the arc to go along with six assists in the victory.
"Every game is very important right now," Aldridge said.
J.R. Smith had a game-high 33 points and had four 3-pointers for the Knicks, who have dropped three straight and four of five overall.
To make matters worse, the team was without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony who was injured in the third quarter of Wednesday's loss at Denver and returned home to New York to have his right knee drained of fluid.
Iman Shumpert's jumper at the 7:57 mark of the third quarter brought New York within 58-54, but Portland closed the stanza on a 20-8 swing to take control of the contest with a 78-62 edge to head into the fourth.
The Knicks struggled in the third, shooting a mere 18.5 percent (5-of-27), while Smith was the only player to score more than two points, with six. The team totaled just 14 points.
Even a miserable third quarter couldn't deter the struggling Knicks, who quickly got back with striking distance thanks to an efficient 14-2 run to start the fourth quarter. The swing kicked off with three consecutive triples -- one by Copeland, two by Smith -- but Smith wasn't done, as he finished the swing with a layup and another trey to get within 80-76 with 7:54 remaining.
Aldridge and Lillard, though, brought the advantage back to nine points with a layup and a trey, respectively, and the visitors never recovered after working so hard to close the gap.
Lillard's driving layup with 3:24 to play increased the hosts' margin to 17, before the Blazers kept a double-digit edge for the remainder of the contest.
"Being short-handed didn't affect us at all (tonight)," New York guard Jason Kidd said. "We got off to a good start. But that second half, we just didn't play like we did in the first."
New York took a 30-22 lead after one quarter, and led by as many as 13 early in the second before the Trail Blazers started chipping away.
Portland closed the first half on a 23-7 surge to take a 51-48 edge at the break, as Lillard's reverse lay-in capped of the action.
Portland is 21-11 at home ... New York is 16-15 on the road ... The Knicks are 0-3 on their current five-game road trek ... New York is 5-6 this season without Anthony in the lineup ... New York center Tyson Chandler missed the action after injuring his left knee against the Nuggets ... Smith had 18 points and all of his 3-pointers in the fourth quarter ... The Knicks are 20-20 since an 18-5 start to the season.
03/15 03:26:03 ET