NEW YORK – The Portland Trail Blazers overcame an off night from their leading scorer, forward Lamarcus Aldridge, to defeat the New York Knicks 94-90 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Forward Nicolas Batum led four players in double figures for Portland (35-14) with 20 points. He was followed by guard Wesley Matthews (18), Aldridge (15) and point guard Damian Lillard (12).
Aldridge, who is tied for sixth in the league in scoring, connected on only 5 of 17 shots from the floor. He has scored in double figures in all of Portland’s 49 games this season, averaging 24.3 points a game. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.
New York (19-30) was led by forward Carmelo Anthony’s 26 points.
The Knicks drained back-to-back 3-pointers from J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr., and trailed 89-87 with 50 seconds to play. But Aldridge hit a difficult fadeaway jumper against Knicks center Tyson Chandler to give Portland a 91-87 cushion with 35.5 to go in the game.
Normally a decent 3-point shooting team, the Knicks made just 4 of 21 shots beyond the arc.
New York trailed 77-76 with 8:15 to play, then went on a scoring drought. The Knicks didn’t score again until there was 4:24 to play. The Trail Blazers used a 7-0 run to move ahead 84-76.
The Knicks led 59-58 with 5:39 left in the third quarter on an Amar’e Stoudemire jumper, but that slim lead quickly vanished. Portland went on a 19-8 spurt to end the quarter with a 77-68 advantage. Aldridge tossed in seven points in the run.
The Knicks took their first lead of the half, 33-32, on a dunk from forward Jeremy Tyler with 8:18 left in the second quarter. Hardaway and Smith followed with jumpers for a 37-34 Knicks advantage with 6:36 to go before Portland countered with an 11-2 burst to move ahead 45-39.
With Matthews, Batum and Lillard already in double figures, the Trail Blazers led 47-46 at the half.
Anthony poured in 14 first quarter points, but Portland led 26-23 going into the second. He cooled off in the second quarter, making just one of five shots, and not scoring until there was 2:25 left. Matthews paced the Trail Blazers with nine points.
NOTES: The Knicks were shooting just 66 percent from the free throw line in their last five games heading into Wednesday, putting them at 29th in the league over that span. … Only G J.R. Smith and F Carmelo Anthony have scored at least 30 points for the Knicks this season. … Portland is first in the league in points scored, free-throw percentage.
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