By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
BLAZERS 102, KNICKS 91 | Moda Center
How it happened:
The Knicks' three-game Western Conference swing got off to an inauspicious start in Portland tonight. After trailing by as many as 22 points, the visitors cut the lead to seven at the beginning of the fourth quarter and again in the final minutes, but couldn't get over the hump as they fell to 3-10 on the season.
New York put forth an uneven defensive effort, and that just wouldn't cut it against a team that came in riding a 10-game win streak.
By failing to help on drives, get back in transition and run shooters off the 3-point line, the Knicks made themselves vulnerable to the Blazers' attack. Portland responded with an incredibly efficient effort, getting the lion's share of its points from the highest-percentage spots on the floor: at the rim, at the free throw line and behind the arc.
Kenyon Martin did his best to set the tone, injecting energy into the Knicks lineup with 10 points, six assists and five rebounds, but it wasn't until the second half when his teammates were able to consistently match him.
Knick of the Night:
Carmelo Anthony. Melo was sensational tonight, pouring in 34 points and pulling down 15 rebounds as he did what he could to keep his team in the game.
Things don't get any easier, as the Knicks head to L.A. to face the Clippers on Wednesday night. Live coverage begins at 10 on MSG, with tipoff scheduled for 10:30.