A wild game erupted at the Garden between two offensive-minded teams on Tuesday night. The Knicks and Trail Blazers contest featured 20 lead changes, Portland owned a lead of nine points, and New York led by as much as seven. Down the stretch, the Trail Blazers were up three with 3:52 to go and both teams exchanging body blows. Derrick Rose connected on a jaw-dropping reverse layup and Mindaugas Kuzminskas followed it up with a clutch 3-pointer to complete a 7-0 run from the home team and a 105-101 lead at the 2:19 mark. Damian Lillard would then hit two free throws to give the road squad a shot at stealing the win at MSG. With 6.8 seconds on the game clock, Rose answered the call by sinking a difficult step-back jumper from 15-feet to provide the Knicks with the game-clinching bucket and 107-103 win. New York recorded its fifth straight home win while reaching the .500 mark (7-7) on the season.
Knick of the Night:
Just six days after securing his career-high (35 points), Kristaps Porzingis posted 31 on 56.5 percent shooting from the floor and three long bombs. The outstanding second-year rising star hauled down nine boards in nearly 40 minutes of game action.
As mentioned above, Rose was spectacular in crunch time. While he ran the pick-and-pop with Porzingis, Rose also attacked Lillard with any glimmer of daylight. The Knicks point guard hit 8-of-15 shots from the floor, scored 18, dished out five dimes, and grabbed four boards in arguably his best performance since the win against the Bulls earlier in the season.
Kuzminskas was terrific off the pine with 10 points (4-6 FG) and 2-of-3 behind the arc. His play with the second unit and the starters should open some eyes and potentially create some more playing time in the near future.
News and Notes:
Joakim Noah (illness) was sidelined for tonight’s contest and Kyle O’Quinn earned the starting nod at the center spot for the second straight game. Lance Thomas was also absent from the game due to ankle issues.
New York only committed 13 turnovers and posted 26 assists in the win.
The Knicks will enjoy a two-day break from game action before returning to the Garden for a matchup against surprising Hornets team on Friday night.