New York Knicks vs Portland Trailblazers: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Moda Center, Portland, OR

When: 10:00 PM EST, January 7th 2019

How (TV/Radio): NBC Sports Northwest, MSGN | Rip City Radio 620

New York Knicks

Head Coach: David Fizdale {All-Time 60-80 | MEM, NYK}

The New York Knicks are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference and the NBA. With a record of 10-29, the Knicks are merely fighting for pride and maybe a higher draft pick.

After an eight game losing streak, the New York Knicks were able to steal a win away from the Los Angeles Lakers. It was an off night for the Los Angeles Lakers from three, but it was a full team effort by the New York Knicks that led them to a win.

Seven different Knicks were able to score in double digits when they took down the Lakers. The Trail Blazers are just a middling defensive team, but the talent gap alone will force the New York Knicks to put together a similar team effort if they want another win.

Portland Trail Blazers

Head Coach: Terry Stotts {All-Time 409-405 | ATL, MIL, POR}

The Portland Trail Blazers find themselves in a tie for sixth place with the San Antonio Spurs with a record of 22-17. After winning back to back against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Sacramento Kings, the Blazers lost by a mere two points to the Oklahoma City Thunder at home, followed by a win over the Houston Rockets.

The Blazers will be happy to be on a slight home stand considering they are an excellent 14-7 at the Moda Center. The same can’t be said about their away record where they are 8-10, but the Blazers won’t be leaving home for a whole week.

The Knicks are not some of the NBA’s best, but they do maintain weapons the Blazers should worry about. Kanter is a force inside and Hardaway Jr can put the ball in the hoop with the best of them. The Blazers’ sixth ranked interior defence will be working double time against the rim-attacking Knicks.

What’s At Stake?

In what will be an inter-conference matchup, the New York Knicks and the Portland Trail Blazers will meet for the 113th time in their franchise history. In the all-time series, the Blazers lead the Knicks 65-47.

The New York Knicks are tied for thirteenth in the East with the Chicago Bulls. A win would break the tie, and give the Knicks sole possession of thirteenth in the East.

The Portland Trail Blazers are tied for sixth in the West with the San Antonio Spurs. Winning would break the tie with the Spurs, setting the Blazers as the sole owners of sixth in the West.

Questions to answer

Will the Knicks start playing team ball?

Can the Blazers take care of the ball?

We are going to compare the New York Knicks and the Portland Trail Blazers in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Knicks are 29th in assists

With a team average of 19.9 assists per game, the Knicks are nearly bottom of the league in assists per game. The Knicks boast a number of offensive talents, but they lack a clear focus on team basketball that drives the most successful teams of the NBA today.

They are led in scoring by the likes of Tim Hardaway Jr, Enes Kanter, and Emmanuel Mudiay. Each are talented in their own right, but require volume shots to generate points. Hezojna hasn’t worked out from range for the Knicks, while Trey Burke remains incredibly streaky from anywhere on the court. The balance on the Knicks is poor, so they will need to find their production in different ways.

A good start for the Knicks will be the offensive glass. Against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Knicks won the battle on the boards with 56 rebounds in the game. If the team isn’t going to swing the ball to create better looks, hustle points will be key.

The Blazers are in the bottom third in turnovers

At 14.4 per game, the Portland Trail Blazers find themselves 21st overall in the league in turnovers per game. Led in turnovers by point guard Damian Lillard and centre Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers will need to shore up their ball control if they want to run away with a win against the Knicks.

In a way, the Blazers have too many playmakers on the court at a time. Lillard, McCollum, Turner, and Curry all have the ability to initiate the offence and score on their own. Unfortunately, they regularly run sets through Nurkic in the high post forcing their best playmakers into spot-up and cutting roles.

At 21st in turnovers and 26th in assists in the league, the Portland Trail Blazers clearly make too many mistakes when trying to initiate their offence as a whole. Taking a step back and allowing their best playmakers to handle the offence, will be a great way for them to break the Knicks pressure.

New York Knicks Roster Notes

G Frank Ntilikina – Out (Left Ankle Strain) – Ntilikina left Friday’s (Jan 4) game against the Lakers and will not return.

F-C Kristaps Porzingis – Out (Knee) – The Knicks announced that Porzingis is making progress and will be re-evaluated in mid-February.

C Mitchell Robinson – Day To Day (Left Ankle) – Robinson did not play in Friday’s game (Jan. 4) against the Lakers.

Portland Trail Blazers Roster Notes

No roster changes to report

Head-to-Head: Tim Hardaway Jr vs Damian Lillard

Tim Hardaway Jr

20.6 PPG | 2.9 APG | 3.4 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 2.0 TOV | .394 FG% | .349 3P%

Damian Lillard

26.6 PPG | 5.8 APG | 4.6 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.8 TOV | .450 FG% | .387 3P%

A matchup between a point guard and a shooting guard generally doesn’t make the headlines, but regardless of position the game between the Knicks and Blazers is one between two excellent isolation scorers in Lillard and Hardaway Jr.

A legacy player very different from his father, Tim Hardaway Jr is a skilled shooting guard with the ability to score the ball from anywhere on the court. He is averaging a career-high in usage percentage at 26.7% per game, displaying how much of the offence truly flows through him.

Damian Lillard may be one of the NBA’s most underrated players. Perhaps due to the small market or lack of playoff success, Damian Lillard is still one of the NBA’s best scorers. Whether initiating the play or coming off screens for open shots, Lillard is an incredibly capable threat that the Knicks will have to key in on if they want to be successful.

New York Knicks at Portland Trail Blazers Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Portland Trail Blazers favoured over the New York Knicks by 11.5, with an over/under of 110.