Carmelo Anthony Comes in Clutch With 37 Points in Thrilling Victory Over Blazers


112. 27. Final. 110. 34

Former-Portland Trail Blazers Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo made their return to the Moda Center Saturday night.

Portland right from tip-off got out to a blazing hot start, gaining a double-digit led by going on a 12-2 run. The New York Knicks just could not stop the Trail Blazers, allowing Portland to shoot 54.5% in the first quarter.

When the Trail Blazers did miss, the Knicks were out-hustled to all the rebounds. New York allowed five offensive rebounds in the opening period, including allowing a highlight put-back dunk by Portland’s starting point guard Damian Lillard

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The Trail Blazers held a 13 to 4 edge in the rebounding category after one-quarter of play. In fact, New York went for over ten minutes with just one rebound… in the game.

New York got back into the game with their three-point shooting, knocking down three triples in a 12-4 run that cut the Knicks’ deficit down to 44-43 with 5:05 remaining in the second quarter. The Knicks scored 34 points in the second quarter, trailing by one point at halftime; 56-55. Carmelo Anthony had a great first half, shooting 8/12 from the field for 20 points.

Anthony continued his hot-shooting as a he gave New York their first lead of the game with a three-pointer in a 9-0 run coming out of halftime. The game went back and forth in the period with a couple of lead changes and ties, but Portland made a 10-2 run to finish the third quarter with a 86-76 lead. Kyle O’Quinn really put New York in a bad spot during the run by attempting an ill-advised three-pointer, and then on the ensuing possession getting a technical foul after fouling Lillard in the paint…

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The Knicks’ bench was fantastic Saturday night, completely erasing the deficit three minutes into the fourth quarter by going on a 12-2 run to tie the game up at 88 each. O’Quinn even redeemed himself midway through the period by blocking a Lillard jumper and then getting out on the fast break for a dunk! O’Quinn finished the game with a season high 14 points on 7/8 shooting and also grabbed 7 rebounds for the night.

The former-Blazers Afflalo did his best to put Portland away by scoring eight of his 15 total points in the fourth quarter. It looked like Anthony put the game away as he drew a blocking foul on Mason Plumlee off a switch, and went on to drain a couple of clutch free-throws to give the Knicks a 108-104 lead with 29.5 seconds left in the game.

Lillard though quickly scored with only five seconds coming off the clock and Anthony was sent to the line again. Again, Anthony knocked down both free-throws.

With the game on the line, Portland again ran a play for Lillard off a timeout. Fortunately for New York Lillard missed an alley-opp layup off a fabulous inbound play. Unfortunately for New York… Anthony was then pushed out of bounds as he collected the rebound. Referees missed the foul and awarded the Trail Blazers the ball.

Problems with rebounding plagued the Knicks all night, and it rared it’s ugly head again late and almost costed New York the game. C.J. McCollum missed a layup, only to have Al-Farouq Aminu come in to clean up the mess.

Anthony was again sent to the line. Again, he sank both clutch free-throws to give New York a 112-108 lead with 7.1 seconds remaining in the game.

With no timeouts remaining for the Trail Blazers, game over right? Wrong… Lance Thomas foolishly fouls Lillard on a three-point attempt… giving Portland life in the game.

Lillard drained the first-two free-throws and then intentionally missed the third attempt. Lillard then grabs the offensive rebound… in a scramble and had a decent look at a three-pointer to win the game. Luckily for New York, the shot did not go down and Knicks fans can give a sigh of relief as the Knicks snapped their four game losing streak with a 112-110 victory over the Trail Blazers.

Anthony was fantastic all night, knocking down six consecutive (seven if you count the referee’s mistake of forcing him to re-do after giving the ball to Melo too early…) clutch free-throws and finished the game with 37 points.

Anthony had plenty of help off the bench though, as the second unit scored 46 points in the game. This was much needed as rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis had his worst game of his early career… recording a big ol’ goose egg in points and collected three personal fouls and two turnovers.

Afflalo got smoked by his protege C.J. McCollum Saturday night, who finished the game with 22 points. Lillard also had himself a good game with 29 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.

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There will be a long layoff as the next game will be on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. New York will have a few days to soak in the victory and hopefully get back on track to a winning record.