- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Oh, the irony.
With their top two players out with injury, the Knicks have hung tough against the Blazers through two quarters.
Here are a couple observations from the first half:
RENEWED ENERGY: The Knicks look nothing like the team that lost its last two games by a combined 52 points, thanks to improved ball movement and shot selection (and Portland's poor defense).
Nine Knicks scored in the first half, led by 10 points from 35-year-old Kenyon Martin. Marcus Camby came off the bench to score eight and J.R. Smith added nine, including several strong drives to the rim (and one emphatic dunk). New York has 22 paint points.
PORTLAND BOUNCES BACK: The Blazers tightened up midway through the second quarter, turning a 13-point deficit into a four-point lead. They leaned on turnovers from the Knicks (five) and big efforts from Damien Lillard (11 points) and J.J. Hickson (eight points, nine rebounds).
Neither team is playing much defense, though. New York is shooting 58 percent from the floor and Portland is shooting 55 percent.
HOMECOMING FOR RAY: Ex-Blazer Ray Felton is getting booed every time he touches the ball at the Rose Garden. Felton came into the 2011-12 season out of shape with the Blazers and fell out of favor with the fans and organization.
He smiled throughout the half and finished with four points and two assists.
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