Team Records: New York (3-9) at Portland (12-2)
Game Info: 7 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 620 AM
Vegas Line: Portland -8
Refs: Sean Corbin, Courtney Kirkland, Violet Palmer
The Skinny: Two nights after a monster game from Aldridge ran Portland’s win streak to 11, the Blazers welcome in the struggling short-handed Knicks. New York has lost five straight and is without the services of either Felton or Chandler tonight. Yet, any team with Carmelo Anthony is still dangerous, and Portland must be aware of that if they want to win.
Last Season: The Blazers swept the Knicks for the first time since the 2008-09 season. Portland has won eight of the last eleven games versus New York.
Projected Knicks Lineup:
PF: Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse-11th season) – 25.8 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.8 APG
SF: Kenyon Martin (Cincinnati-14th season) – 3.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.1 APG
C: Andrea Bargnani (Italy-8th season) – 14.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.3 APG
SG: Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech-3rd season) – 8 PPG, .4.5 RPG, 2.7 APG
PG: Pablo Prigioni (Argentina-2nd season) – 4.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 2.4 APG
Player to Watch: Carmelo Anthony (pictured at right) – It was no secret a few years back that Carmelo Anthony wanted to play in New York but up until last year it hadn’t exactly been a smooth ride for the NYC native. Carmelo is one of the best scorers in the game, although his numbers have taken a dip from last year’s amazing performance. He is an excellent rebounder and has great handles. His defense might be questionable and he doesn’t like to pass much but when you’re one of the best scorers in the game, those deficiencies pale in comparison to Melo’s strengths. Melo is about the only thing keeping the Knicks watchable at this point as they continue to degenerate into a mess.
Did You Know?: The New York Knickerbockers name was first coined by Washington Irving in “A History of New York” in 1809 , which he published under the pen name Diedrich Knickerbocker.
Song of the Day: “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight” by Spinal Tap. Appropriate tonight as Portland looks to make sure this streak goes to eleven. Enjoy:
Portland: Out –PG CJ McCollum (Foot), PG Mo Williams (Suspended)
New York: Out – PG Raymond Felton (Back), C Tyson Chandler (Filbula)
New York’s Game:
You ever wake up from a nightmare thinking it might be real? Well for the Knicks so far this year the season has indeed been a living nightmare. Having thought they improved in the offseason by acquiring Bargs and Metta World Peace, the Knicks have instead been simply awful. The Knicks are bad on offense, relying heavily on inconsistent jump shooters off iso plays, which is a good recipe for a stagnant ineffective offense. They are even worse on defense and since Chandler went out about the only good defensive player they have is Shumpert. Oh and they don’t even have a first round pick in next year’s draft. If there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Knicks, it is more likely a subway train coming to knock them even flatter. Bottom line, this Broadway show is a total dud.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: Don’t let Melo go crazy. If Melo doesn’t have one of his crazy efficient nights the Knicks have very little chance of winning in Portland.
New York wins if: They make at least 10 3 pointers. When New York is going well, they take and make a lot of 3 pointers. If they can do so Monday, they should prevail.