Carmelo Anthony, RJ Barrett, Marcus Morris
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The New York Knicks let Damian Lillard, Carmelo Anthony, and the Trail Blazers run wild in a game that was over in the third quarter.

Danny Small

  • New York Knicks 87 (4-20)
  • Portland Trail Blazers 115 (10-15)
  • NBA, Final, Box Score
  • Moda Center, Portland, OR

The Moda Center was uncharacteristically quiet on Tuesday night. The New York Knicks were facing Carmelo Anthony for the first time in nearly two years, but the game didn’t live up to the hype. Fans have Damian Lillard to thank for that.

Lillard put up 17 points on 5-for-6 from three-point range in the first quarter en route to 31 points in just 29 minutes. The All-NBA guard was hitting anything and everything from beyond the arc. There wasn’t much the Knicks could do to stop him.

While Lillard sunk bucket after bucket, the Knicks were building a house of bricks on the other end. New York was 7-for-38 from deep compared to Lillard’s 8-for-12 night. Yikes.

Carmelo Anthony was slow to start but found a rhythm in the second half. He finished with 16 points on 13 shots. Although it was clear that he was pressing in the beginning, Melo was a perfect 3-for-3 from three. Melo fans shouldn’t worry too much about this lukewarm performance. The real show is going to be at Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Day.

Trouble Ahead?

This loss does not bode well for the rest of this Knicks road trip. The Blazers are a scuffling team that is still trying to develop consistency. Obviously, they’re a much more talented team than the Knicks, but these blowout losses are far too consistent for a team that was sold as a competitive, hard-nosed squad.

This was a reversion to how the team played in the losses to the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets. The vast majority of this game was uncompetitive with the Blazers smoking the Knicks. The energy and effort in the one-point loss to the Indiana Pacers must have missed the team flight to Portland.

On Wednesday, the Golden State Warriors will host the Knicks in a game that carries significance for draft lottery purposes. That is a weird sentence to type considering how dominant the Warriors have been in recent years. Golden State went from first to worst in the Western Conference after losing Kevin Durant to free agency, Klay Thompson to injury in the NBA Finals, and Stephen Curry to injury earlier this season.

Much like the Blazers, the Warriors are the more talented squad with names like D’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green in the lineup. The easiest game on the trip is made slightly more difficult for the Knicks by way of the dreaded road-road back-to-back.

That being said, the Knicks have to feel a sense of urgency going into this game with the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets looming.

A four-game sweep on the road trip is the worst-case scenario for the Knicks and interim head coach Mike Miller. After seeing the lackluster performance in Portland, it’s hard to envision anything other than a sweep. But perhaps these Knicks who billed themselves as “dogs” before the season, will actually show some fight with their backs up against the wall.

Four-Game Road Trip Log

  • @ Portland—87-115 Loss
  • @ Golden State—Wednesday, Dec. 11, 10:30 p.m. ET
  • @ Sacramento—Friday, Dec. 13, 10 p.m. ET
  • @ Denver—Sunday, Dec. 15, 8 p.m. ET

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