Tuesday, December 2, 2008

They can't all be blowouts

Good teams find ways to win, but good-approaching-great teams finds ways to win on the road thousands of miles away from home. Then again, the Knicks gave the Trail Blazers a run for their money with just seven guys playing meaningful minutes, so that could be considered cause for concern. And it's not exactly like Mike D'Antoni's crew is being afforded the opportunity to focus solely on basketball right now, so there's that.

Brandon Roy kept the ship afloat during a miserable first half, scoring 15 of his 23 points in the initial stages of the game. It had the feel of one of those games in which Roy was going to have to do all of the heavy lifting for the full 48, but LaMarcus Aldridge, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and (especially) Rudy Fernandez found enough offense in the second half to help out the current Western Conference Player of the Week. And Joel Przybilla continues to show contempt for low field goal percentages.

A sequence in the fourth quarter turned this one around for Portland. Rudy hit a three-pointer to bring the Blazers to within one. Sergio steals a pass, which results in a Joel Przybilla hook shot. Blazers up 76-75. Knicks miss a long jumper, Batum grabs the board, Rudy drives and gets hacked by David Lee. Rudy, of course, makes both free throws. Then Al Harrington makes the mistake of trying to take the ball to the rack with Przybilla in the vicinity. Przy stuffs the attempt, get the board, outlets to Sergio, who passes the ball to Rudy on the perimeter while clearing out a defender. Rudy squares and cans the three-pointer. Blazers in control and up six. Thank you Portland bench.

It certainly wasn't the prettiest win, and the Blazers would have won by 20 if they had hit a few of their wide-open three-point attempts in the first half, but they all count the same. Trail Blazers 104, Knicks 97 and it's on to our nation's capital.

And that's five straight.

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