The Knicks' 105-90 loss in Portland last March was one of four on a roadtrip that marked the low point before a 13-game winning streak propelled them into the playoffs. Injuries had ravaged the roster, but New York wasn't looking to make excuses and no doubt left with a bad taste in its mouth.
As they return to the Rose Garden, they will have reloaded, but the same can be said about the Blazers. Portland had an all-time bad bench last year, but draft picks C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe will join Robin Lopez, Thomas Robinson, Dorrell Wright and Mo Williams to make this year's team much, much deeper.
With Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard running the show and All-Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge in his prime, the Western Conference looks to have gained another playoff contender.