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Trail Blazers 111, Knicks 101: Scenes from an acceptable L

Stayed in it in the first half, crumbled in the second

NBA: New York Knicks at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

If you were one of those that got a little bent out of shape by the Knicks’ unexpected win at the Lakers the other night, fret not. The tank’s back on.

The Knicks marched into Portland tonight looking for a second straight W, and although they had one of their trademark “keep it close in the first half” performances, they ultimately succumbed to the Blazers, 111-101.

The Blazers had six players with over 10 points, led by Jusuf Nurkic’s 20 points and eight rebounds. Neither Damian Lillard nor CJ McCollum were really all that impressive (though they scored 17 apiece), but Steph Curry’s brother dropped in an efficient 13 points.

But hey, this is what we wanted, right? The road to Zion is paved with Ls, glued together with Knick fan tears. Don’t ask how tears can glue. They just glue.

Emmanuel Mudiay played pretty well despite his less-than-impressive 7-17 shooting line. Mud had 17 points, but most impressive was his eight assists, where he had a great feel for finding his teammates for most of the night.

There was a stat that Mike Breen dropped in the third... Via assist or scoring himself, Mudiay had a part in every Knick point for about the first six to seven minutes of that quarter. Pretty impressive stuff.

Enes Kanter had 18 points and 14 rebounds tonight, and this was actually a decent matchup for him. Nurkic could hold his own against Kanter, but the big Turk mangled guys like Meyers Leonard and Zach Collins down low on the offensive glass for second-chance points. He also did this:

Mario Hezonja, for the second straight game, came out on fire off the bench. Hez had 14 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes tonight.

Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up Noah Vonleh, who returned to his former team that he had spent the most time with in his career and put up an impressive 16-point, 14-rebound double-double. Vonleh did a bit of everything, from threes (he made 3-5) to rim-rockers.

You’d be hard-pressed to find another “good” performance tonight. Tim Hardaway Jr., in particular, may as well have just popped a squat during his 27 minutes tonight. He was utter trash.

But yeah, pretty numb to the whole “losing” thing at this point. This was a good L. Keep it up, Knicks.

MMiranda’s got the recap in a little bit.