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Blazers coach Terry Stotts couldn’t understand why New York’s defense was rated so successful.
Broken down into statistical categories, the Knicks weren’t great at one thing in particular. But they were No. 2 in points allowed per game and No. 7 in defensive efficiency.
“That’s a good question. If you look at their other defensive metrics, it’s hard to pinpoint one thing they do really well,” Stotts said. “My only conclusion is that they play good team defense. If you look at their defensive metrics and stats, there’s nothing that really stands out except teams miss shots against them. And they probably have something to do with them missing shots.”
Whatever Tom Thibodeau’s magic formula, Stotts’ squad was served with a healthy dose Saturday in New York’s 110-99 victory over Portland at MSG. For the Blazers (12-10), the scoring total was their second-lowest of the season. They also missed eight consecutive 3-point attempts in the final minutes, sealing New York’s victory.
The Knicks (11-13) won their second straight and jumped from 10th to 6th in the Eastern Conference. Point guard Elfrid Payton enjoyed a big night with 22 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Julius Randle added 20 points and 10 boards.
Dame Lillard led the Blazers with 28 points. Carmelo Anthony’s return to The Garden was a dud. He had just two points on 1-of-8 shooting.