Monday, November 25, 2013
W2W4: Knicks at Blazers
By Ian Begley
Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight's Knicks-Blazers game:
Tough timing: The reeling Knicks (3-9) are facing the Blazers at arguably the worst possible time. Portland has won 10 straight, its longest winning streak since 2007.
The Knicks are on the other end of the spectrum, having lost five straight and six of seven. It's their longest losing streak since March of 2012 and the longest of the Mike Woodson era.
And there's this: Portland is 10-2 in its last 12 home games against New York. So even when the Blazers (12-2) have been bad, they've found a way to beat the Knicks.
Missing the point: New York has struggled to stop point guards all season long. According to 82games.com, point guards have scored an average of 21.4 points per game against New York. That's the highest per-game scoring average of any of the five positions against Woodson's club.
Knick point guards have been outscored by an average of six points per game by their counterpart. That's not good.
It won't get any easier on Monday as the Knicks have to face Portland's Damian Lillard. Lillard's scoring 19.9 points per game. He will likely go up against Udrih and Prigioni as Raymond Felton (hip) is unlikely to play.
Maybe Mike Woodson lets Iman Shumpert guard Lillard? Shumpert couldn't play Wall much on Saturday because he had to defend Washington SG Bradley Beal.
Fast break? Fast broken: The Knicks haven't scored many fast break points this year. But their fast break has plummeted without Felton. According to STATS, LCC, the Knicks have averaged a league-low 8.7 fast-break points per game. That number has dropped to just 3.7 points per game without Felton. So don't expect them to get many easy transition baskets against Portland, which is allowing 11.4 fast-break points per game, the sixth-lowest total in the NBA.