New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - LaMarcus Aldridge posted his fifth straight double-double and the Portland Trail Blazers kicked off a five-game road trip with a 103-99 win over the New York Knicks.
The Knicks led 97-96 late in the fourth when Aldridge made a pair of free throws to put Portland in front. Aldridge then converted a layup and after Amar'e Stoudemire's dunk had the Knicks within one, he potted a stepback jumper for a 102-99 edge.
Carmelo Anthony and Pablo Prigioni missed jumpers on the next two Knicks touches, and Wesley Matthews split a pair of free throws to seal the contest.
"I thought guys stepped up and played well," Aldridge said.
"Defensively, we've grown. Making teams take mid-range shots, trying to force them into contested shots. I think overall we've gotten better."
Aldridge had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Damian Lillard scored 20 points and Matthews chipped in 18 for the Blazers, winners in four straight and 13 of their last 14.
Anthony's 23-point, 10-rebound effort and J.R. Smith's 20 points off the bench weren't enough for the slumping Knicks, who just can't seem to find the winning formula. Seven of New York's eight consecutive losses have been by seven points or less.
"There's a level of attention to detail that we're still below in order to win these games," said Knicks head coach Derek Fisher. "We're obviously doing enough to be in the game and have a chance to win."
Nicolas Batum's driving layup, plus a free throw, with 1:22 left in the third gave the Blazers a 78-71 lead. Portland kept the momentum going when Batum fed Chris Kaman inside for a lefty hook and Allen Crabbe blocked a Tim Hardaway Jr. 3-pointer and converted a fastbreak layup at the other end. His layup made it 83-73, and the Blazers led by eight heading into the final period.
Matthews hit consecutive 3s early in the fourth to help Portland keep its distance, but Smith got hot and helped the Knicks make it a game.
Smith scored on four straight possessions for New York, totaling nine points in a 1:22 stretch. After Steve Blake made it 95-88 with a 3 at the other end, Anthony hit from deep then canned a mid-range jumper. Stoudemire tied it with his 16-footer with 4 1/2 to play, and Anthony scored at the rim at 3:33 to give the Knicks their first lead since the second quarter.
Lillard then split a pair of free throws before Aldridge and Matthews won it for Portland.
Portland improved to 9-0 against the Eastern Conference this season ... Stoudemire had 16 points and 10 rebounds ... Portland won the rebounding margin, 44-37 ... Batum finished with 11 points and seven assists.