Team Records: Portland (15-14) at New York (21-9)
Game Info: 4:30 p.m., TV on CSNNW, Radio on 1190 and 102. 3 FM
Vegas Line: New York -9
Refs: Ed Malloy, Kevin Scott, Gary Zielinski
The Skinny: After finishing out a 9-4 December with a win over the Sixers, the Blazers travel east to begin a four game swing that will sorely test them. They begin with one of the NBA’s biggest success stories this year, the New York Knicks. While they have been playing .500 ball of late, it is only likely a matter of time until they go on another winning streak.
Last Season: The Knicks won the only matchup between the two teams last season, which took place in New York.
Projected Knicks Lineup:
PF: Carmelo Anthony (Syracuse-10th season) – 28.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.9 APG
SF: Ronnie Brewer (Arkansas-7th season) – 4.9 PPG, 3 RPG, 1.2 APG
C: Tyson Chandler (Dominguez (HS)-12th season) – 12.9 PPG, 10.2 RPG, .8 APG
SG: James White (Cincinnati-3rd season) – 1.7 PPG, .6 RPG, .3 APG
PG: Jason Kidd (California-19th season) – 9.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.2 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 this year it hadn’t exactly been a smooth ride for the NYC native. Carmelo is one of the best scorers in the game and has been scoring at career high rates this season to boot. 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 shooting nearly 50% from the floor and scoring nearly 30 points per game, those deficiencies pale in comparison to Melo’s strengths. If he can keep it up, who knows how far Melo and the Knicks can go this year?
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: “Auld Lang Syne”. A traditional new year’s song, let us listen to it and remember this crazy crazy year for the Blazers. Enjoy:
Portland: Out –SG Elliot Williams (Achilles), C Meyers Leonard (Ankle), Questionable-SG Wesley Matthews (Hip).
New York: Out – PG Raymond Felton (Pinkie), SG Iman Schumpert (ACL/Meniscus), Questionable-PF Amar’e Stoudemire (Knee), PF Rasheed Wallace (Foot), PF Carmelo Anthony (Knee).
New York’s Game:
The old saying is that “defense wins championships”, but try telling that to the Knicks. They believe that the road to a title lies in their offense, which is perhaps the best in the league. New York runs a pace almost identical to Portland but is much more efficient, especially from deep, shooting a blistering 39.3% from 3 and making more than 11 3s per game. New York doesn’t turn the ball over either, with a turnover rate that is by far the league’s best. On defense, the Knicks aren’t all bad either, ranking in the middle of the league When they lose, this defense can be a problem but their offense usually more than covers up for their defensive flaws. A title contender to be sure, the Knicks are a team to be reckoned with.
The Bottom Line:
Portland wins if: Hold New York under 100 points. New York may be better on defense but they are still fundamentally an offense-first team. If they don’t score 100, they almost never win.
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 Tuesday, they should prevail.