by Liev Jackson
Trail Blazers: 32-28 SU,34-26 ATS
Knicks: 25-36 SU,32-28-1 ATS
When: 7:30 PM ET, Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
TV: CSN Northwest, MSG
The Portland Trail Blazers are separating themselves from the pack of mediocrity that is the bloated middle class of the NBA. They’ve been doing it on the strength of a six week run of sizzling hot play led by their best player Damian Lillard.
They were nine games under .500 after a 128-108 loss to the Warriors on January 8th. Since then they have put up some truly elite numbers in compiling a 17-4 record. The wins have come far and wide against the Warriors, Thunder, Rockets (twice), Hawks, Bulls, Pacers, Hornets, Grizzlies etc.
And Lillard just keeps getting better. He is averaging 25.4 PPG (5th best in the league) on the strength of a February where he just scored 29.8 PPG. That is the third best month of scoring in franchise history. Plus in the six games since the all-star break ended he’s netted 33.7 PPG, partially on the strength of a .485 FG% and .434 from beyond the arc. He is a man on a mission, and so far it’s working brilliantly.
The Blazers have made it all the way up to a tie for the sixth seed and are hot on the trail of the hobbled Grizzlies for fifth spot and a chance to miss out on one of the big three teams in the conference in the first round of the playoffs.
In the last game, a 111-102 road win over the Pacers Lillard had 33 points and put up 20 in the first quarter to help his team get out to a 39-27 lead that they would not relinquish. McCollum had 19 and Meyers Leonard had 17.
One thing that should have fans of this team excited is that not one player getting significant minutes is older than 26 and most are several years younger than that. This is a team playing with house money.
The Knicks are trying to take a page out of their playbook as they slowly rid their roster of older, expiring talent. But that is a harder challenge when your best player is 31 year old Carmelo Anthony (21.5 PPG 8 RPG).
Everyone is excited about the rookie Kristaps Porzingis (14 PPG 7.4 RPG), but there are at least a couple years of major rebuilding to do before the Knicks are back competing for supremacy in the conference, let alone a playoff spot.
The team has shown some progress this year, and were 22-22 on January 20th, but they’ve since plummeted with a 3-14 record since then. It also cost coach Derrick Fisher his job. Since ex-Laker great Kurt Rambis took over seven games ago the team is just 2-5.
They were no match for the Heat in a 98-81 loss last time out. They kept the score within four heading into the fourth, but were outplayed badly in the final frame as the Heat managed a 29-16 advantage in that quarter.
Anthony put up 25 points and Robin Lopez had 14 points and 14 rebounds, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Overall Portland is eighth in scoring with 103.6 PPG while they are tied for 15th in allowing 102.3 PPG. In their last 21 games they are scoring 108.6 PPG and allowing 101.3 PPG.
The Knicks are 23rd in scoring at 99.1 PPG and allow 101.6 PPG, which is 12th. In the past 17 those numbers read 97.5 PPG scored and 104.8 PPG allowed.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. New York Knicks Early Odds & Betting Lines
Live NBA Basketball Odds & Scores - Click here
New York was a 98-81 loser in its last match at home against the Heat. They failed to cover the +2-point spread as underdogs, while the total score of 179 sent UNDER bettors to the payout window.
The Trail Blazers were a 111-102 winner in their most recent outing on the road against the Pacers. They covered the +6-point spread as underdogs, while the total score (213) made winners of OVER bettors.
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Portland Trail Blazers vs. New York Knicks Basketball Betting Odds & Trends
Portland is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 games
Portland is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Portland's last 8 games
New York is 3-8-1 ATS in its last 12 games
New York is 2-10 SU in its last 12 games
New York is 1-6-1 ATS in its last 8 games at home
Portland at Boston Wednesday, March 2
New York at Boston Friday, March 4
The Bottom Line: With the Blazers scoring at an elite level look for them to keep it going and cover the 3.5 points against the Knicks. The Pick: Trail Blazers 110-100.
Liev NBA Prediction and Pick: Portland -5½ at BetOnline
allen crabbe - c.j. mccollum - carmelo anthony - damian lillard - derrick fisher - kristaps porzingis - kurt rambis - meyers leonard - new york knicks - portland trail blazers