Damian Lillard played as if he was from a different planet from the jump in this game. Lillard shot 6-8, 5-6 from downtown, scoring 17 points in the 1st Quarter. He finished the night with 31 points and 6 assists, while shooting 60% from the floor. Hassan Whiteside posted a big performance, finishing with 17 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 blocked shots. Carmelo Anthony scored 16 points on a poor 5-13 (38.4%) from the field. The Trail Blazers outscored the Knicks in all four quarters, cruising to a 28 point victory. Julius Randle (15 points and 7 rebounds) was the only Knicks starter to play well in this game. Frank Ntilikina (2 points) and RJ Barrett (5 points) shot a combined 2-14 from the floor. Their play is very concerning for the Knicks as both youngsters have shown promise this season, but have had a hard time progressing as the season has unfolded. Dennis Smith Jr. (5 points on 2-7 shooting) has also taken a major step backwards this season, having a hard time shooting efficiently and running the offense. Mitchell Robinson (14 points and 5 rebounds) and Bobby Portis (11 points and 10 rebounds) both gave good minutes off the bench. Allonzo Trier who has been buried on the bench for most of the year (despite his scoring prowess), managed to score 13 points in just 14 minutes of action.
Why The Knicks Lost
The difference in this game was almost entirely due to shooting. Portland shot 17-41 (41.5%) from three and 20-24 (83.3%) from the foul line. The Knicks shot 7-38 (18.4%) from three and 16-26 (61.5%) from the charity stripe. That’s a 34 point difference. New York needs to shoot better and find a way to contest the three-point line in the future, to turn this horrid start to the season around.
Firing David Fizdale was the first of many dominoes to fall. The Knicks will likely start mixing up the starting lineup/rotation and get involved in trade talks. New York is clearly lacking shooting and perimeter defense. Steve Mills and Scott Perry will likely elect to sell off verteran assets, such as Marcus Morris Sr., Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, and Wayne Ellington. In return, they will hope to bring in younger players that can shoot and guard the perimeter, along with draft picks. Mike Miller may elect to start playing Allonzo Trier more minutes to provide a boost to the Knicks offense.