Last time Knicks faced the Blazers, it was simultaneously a great and frustrating game. The Blazers led by as many as 25, but when the strapping young lad checked in at the start of the fourth, the Knicks nearly closed the gap off his 21 points in 12 minutes. The frustrating here is that Quickley played just 24 minutes total in the game, a weird hockey-swap type deal with Payton, only playing for the entirety of the second and fourth quarters. A few more Quickley minutes, it likely would have been known as The Quickley Game for the rest of time.
We’ll see how the minutes distribution goes today—it had been better, but after Payton’s historic 20 points on 19 shots last game, it could be more of the same. Either way, the Knicks should hopefully be more prepared than last time and not go down 25 points to begin with. Despite injuries, the Blazers have won 3 of their last 4, and as all stars do, Lillard is coming back from injury against the Knicks today.
Something to watch for today is Obi Toppin. He’s been so uninvolved and quiet lately that you have to imagine they try a little more to get him going, and against a Blazers team with some pretty bad defense on the interior especially, maybe he’ll have some more luck. Another is RJ Barrett, who was limited to just 8 points in 22 minutes due to weird rotations. We’ll see how he bounces back in his second chance against them. It would also be nice to see them get Mitchell Robinson more involved, who had his historic 11-11 shooting night against them last year en route to 22 points. Against Enes Kanter, he and the Knicks should be able to create opportunties for success in the pick and roll.
Also, Nerlens Noel is out today, meaning Taj Gibson will be freed. For some reason it’s kinda fun when he is this year because of the Thibs connection.
Tip-off is at 1:00 PM on MSG. This is your game thread. This is Blazers Edge. Please don’t post large photos, GIFs, or links to illegal streams in the thread. Be kind to one another. Go the Knicks!