Blazers shoot poorly but hold off Knicks, 94-90
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge struggled with his shot for much of the game, so the All-Star was confident about his last attempt.
It was just time for him to make a big play.
Nicolas Batum had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Wesley Matthews scored 18 points, and the Trail Blazers overcame poor-shooting nights by two of their best players in a 94-90 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
Aldridge finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds while shooting just 5 of 17 from the floor, but he knocked down a turnaround jumper with 35 seconds left after the Knicks had cut Portland's lead to two.
"I had the whole game to miss shots so I felt like I was due some makes," Aldridge said. "Law of averages have to catch up sooner or later. I had made one easy one, one tough one. So I felt like I was going to make it."
All-Star Damian Lillard shot 4 of 12 for his 12 points, but he and Aldridge were far from the only frigid shooters on a snowy day in New York.
The Trail Blazers made just 38 percent, but the Knicks hit only 40 percent of their attempts and were 4 of 21 from 3-point range.
"I thought our defense all game was pretty good. I thought for us to win a game shooting 38 percent, it's not an easy thing to do," Portland coach Terry Stotts said.
New York star Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points but was scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting in the fourth quarter, finishing 11 of 28 as the Knicks dropped their third straight.
The Knicks were within one after a strong start to the fourth, then had just two baskets and five points over the next 7 minutes - and still had a chance to pull it out.
"Whenever you hold a team to 38 percent or whatever it is that we held them to, I mean, you think you're going to win. But obviously that wasn't the case tonight," Knicks center Tyson Chandler said.
Portland, missing free throws and layups throughout the fourth, couldn't put it away even while the Knicks were making just two of their first 18 3-point attempts. J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. then made consecutive shots from behind the arc, cutting it to 89-87 with 50 seconds left.
Aldridge made a turnaround jumper 15 seconds later, and after Anthony missed a drive, Mo Williams made a pair of free throws to make it a six-point game. Smith made three from the line after Batum fouled him behind the arc, but Lillard made one to make it 94-90, and the Knicks missed their final 3-point attempt.
Anthony was frustrated throughout the night, picking up one technical foul and waving his arm in disgust toward referee Dan Crawford a few times. He appeared to be yelling toward him after the buzzer.
"It was just one of them nights. Just as far as shots go, couldn't find it coming down the stretch," Anthony said. "I don't want to speak on the calls. Nothing I can do about that right now, nothing we can do about it."
Smith had 18 points and Amare Stoudemire, getting the extra minutes he sought, scored 15.
Portland, which has had one of the NBA's best records all season, had dropped three of four and five of its last eight games. But the Blazers did just enough to rebound from Monday's 100-90 loss at Washington, its only one in nine road games against the Eastern Conference this season.
Aldridge missed 10 of his first 11 shots and the Blazers led by two before he made a short jumper over Raymond Felton while being fouled with 3:25 left in the third quarter, starting Portland's run of seven straight points that made it 70-61. The lead hit 11 in the final minute on Dorell Wright's three free throws, and it was 77-68 entering the fourth.
New York ran off the first eight of the final period, pulling to 77-76 on Pablo Prigioni's 3-pointer with 8:16 to play. But Williams made a 3-pointer from the corner to steady the Blazers just about the time the Knicks stalled.
The Knicks were without forward Kenyon Martin, who will rest a sore left ankle for at least the next week.
NOTES: Anthony was announced before the game as the Eastern Conference player of the month for January, when he averaged 28.7 points and 9.0 rebounds. ... Boxer Manny Pacquiao was at the game. ... The Knicks paid tribute to actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, a fan of the team who died Sunday. ... The Knicks played their first of three straight against the Northwest Division. They host Denver on Friday and visit Oklahoma City.
Updated February 6, 2014