The Portland Trail Blazers were playing 2 of their marquee player, Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum. But even though that was the case, Damian Lillard left no stone unturned in guiding his team past the New York Knicks. The Trail Blazers took the lead as much as for 25 points, in-between the game, courtesy to Lillard’s 39 points. But it seemed like that wasn’t enough as they started slipping up in the final quarter. Coming to 96-91 with over 7 minutes to play. Julius Randle’s layup narrowed it to 106-98 with 2:39 to go. Quickley hit three free throws to make it 106-102 with 1:33 left for the Knicks.
But former Knick’s player Carmelo Anthony scored a pair of free throws that ensured the Trail Blazers are emerging victorious in this particular game. Immanuel Quickley, who scored 31 points for the Knicks dished to Robinson for an alley-oop dunk to narrow New York’s deficit to 114-111 with 10 seconds left, but in the end, the Knicks couldn’t catch up. The Knicks went into the game with the league’s second-best defensive rating.
Damian Lillard’s 39 points get Trail Blazers past Knicks
“It was the kind of game we needed to play, especially with CJ and Nurk being out,” Lillard said. “That second group, they came out and they were sharp, they were making shots, the ball was moving. We were active in our zone. It was the way we needed to play.”
“If you watch the games around the league, it happens every night,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said about watching the lead dwindle. “There are teams every night that are up 20 points, 15 points and the lead evaporate in some way. As a coach you don’t want it to happen, obviously, but the biggest thing is managing it when it does happen.”
The Blazers were still adjusting to the loss of guard CJ McCollum with a hairline fracture in his left foot. Rodney Hood started in McCollum’s place for the second game. Portland was also without big man Jusuf Nurkic because of a right wrist fracture.