Nicolas Batum and Damian Lillard each scored 23 points and the Portland Trail Blazers extended their winning streak to 11 games by beating the New York Knicks, 102-91 on Monday night.
The Blazers never trailed in this one and led by as much as 22.
For the Knicks, their misery continued, as this was their sixth straight loss.
Carmelo Anthony was magnificent, going off for 34 points and 15 rebounds, but he received very little help from his teammates. New York did not knock down a three-pointer until the third quarter.
The Knicks actually outshot Portland 45 percent to 44 percent, but the Blazers made 19 free throws to New York's nine, which was the difference in the contest.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points and 14 boards.
Let's break this one down to see what went right for Portland and what went wrong for the Knicks.
Great All-Around Performance by Nicolas Batum
Not only did Batum score 23 points, but he also posted seven rebounds and six assists while shooting an efficient 8-of-12 from the floor (3-of-5 from distance).
He was very effective at getting free on the perimeter, even if it meant giving a subtle shove to his defender to get himself open behind the three-point line. Batum also made great passes to his cutting teammates and helped give life to what was an offensive clinic early on in the game for the Blazers.
Batum also only registered one turnover in the win.
Outstanding Ball Movement by Portland
While the Knicks relied heavily upon one-on-one offense to generate points, the Blazers opted for a more team-friendly approach, utilizing crisp, clean passing and backdoor cuts to throw New York's defense into bewilderment.
So many times, Portland was able to get a man open, particularly early on in the game. There were several instances where guys got free underneath the basket as a result of perfect counters which completely caught the Knicks' defense off-guard.
The Blazers also did a fine job of rotating the ball around the perimeter to find the open man from beyond the arc.
Awful Help Defense by the Knicks
New York's D improved in the second half, but the lack of help defense we saw from Mike Woodson's club in the first two quarters was outright disgusting.
Lillard was given free paths to the basket on numerous occasions, and there were also times where the Knicks would double down on Aldridge in the post and completely forget that the Blazers are a good outside shooting team. Beno Udrih in particular was a culprit.
Because of that awful defensive display over the first 24 minutes, New York put itself in a hole that it just could not climb out of.
Iman Shumpert Played the Worst Game of His Career
Iman Shumpert's stat-line for the night: zero points, zero rebounds, zero assists, one steal, zero blocks, three fouls and two turnovers. He also went 0-of-3 from the floor.
Now I'm not sure if the trade rumors are bothering him or what, but this was a flat-out horrible performance from a guy whom the Knicks seem to think has some value on the trade market.
Hopefully, no teams that have been talking to New York about Shumpert were watching this game, because he was beyond awful.
Just to add insult to injury, Shumpert finished with a game-worst minus-22.
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