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Scenes from blowin out the Blazers at MSG

Knicks 112, Trail Blazers 84: OG Anunoby scores 23, Julius Randle adds 20, and Decue McBride swishes 4-of-7 from downtown in a buzzer-to-buzzer blowout.

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

One of my best friends, Stefan H., resides in Seattle. Until the SuperSonics return, the poor fella backs the Portland Trail Blazers (10-26). Whenever the New York Knicks (22-15) play the Blazers, we text a bunch.

My pal, like most people, predicted the Knicks to win tonight in a walk. It’s been another miserable season for Stefan as a Blazers’ backer. Quoth he: “It’s not even fun to watch. It’s coaching—the pieces are there for a fun team, but the offense is a disaster.”

Hoo boy, that sounds familiar. We’ve been in Stefan’s shoes before, so let’s appreciate what these Knicks are doing. Our team is rolling. They are the NBA’s only undefeated team in 2024 and are rocketing along a five-game winning streak. Consider that in their last five games, New York has had leads as great as:

  • 22-points against the Timberwolves,
  • 17-points against the Bulls
  • 39-points against the Sixers (it’s true, I double-checked)
  • 26-points against the Wizards
  • 39-points tonight against the Blazers

In a second consecutive wire-to-wire victory that saw OG Anunoby score 23, Deuce McBride swish 4-of-7 from downtown, and Quentin Grimes add 17, the Knicks obliterated the Trail Blazers, 112-84. Went something like this.

First Half

The game got off on the right foot with a Donte DiVincenzo steal that he converted for a dunk. But the first quarter belonged to OG DeBusschere—er, Anunoby. In his fifth game and most potent offensive performance yet as a Knick, Anunoby scored 16 first-frame points, drilled four of five three-pointers, and added this tasty flush:

The next highest scorer for the Knicks in the period was Deuce McBride, with eight points. Miles had shot 2-of-2 from deep and logged one steal and a block in just under five minutes.

Stefan observed glumly, “This is every . . . single . . . game . . . that the Blazers get down 10-15 in the first quarter. They just never look ready to play.” Indeed they didn’t. After one quarter, New York was up 38-22. The Blazer’s main bright spot, Jerami Grant, had scored 13 of Portland’s total points.

In the second quarter, the Knicks piled it on. They went on an 11-0 run and up by 24 points. Then New York grew bored and coasted a bit. No one fretted. Despite going about six minutes without a field goal, they were still ahead by 20 points. They finished the half up, 63-41.

“I think they should trade Simons,” says Stefan. “He’s a really good player, but it’s Scoot and Sharpe’s backcourt. And Simons eats up their minutes.”

New York had both shot and contested well. They had swished 10 of their 25 three point attempts (40%), whereas Portland had converted only four for 27%. The Knicks had clobbered their opponents on the glass (31-18), but the Blazers had won the battle for points in the paint, 22-16.

Through half a game, Anunoby sat on 17 points, Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson had 10 points apiece, and every Knick who played had scored. That’s balance, Yogi. Here’s your shot-chart at intermission:

Second Half

DiVincenzo canned a side three, his second of the game, and dished an assist to Randle to give New York a 28-point lead around the 8:00 mark of Q3. I salivated in expectation of extended Deuce and Grimes minutes once OG, Julius, and Jalen padded their stats.

Meanwhile, Stefan watched in agony as the Knicks went up by 34. “I sincerely think the only thing Chauncey is concerned with is the post-game hug with the other coach.” After Portland’s coach lost a challenge, Stefan—who has watched many Blazers games this season—added, “I’m not sure Chauncey has ever won a challenge.” Ouch.

Hey! OG has some moves:

The Knicks’ lead reached 39 points before the close of the quarter. They entered the final frame ahead, 97-61.

Portland ran a white flag up the pole. Thibs let Julius (20 points, eight assists, seven boards, +31) and Jalen (12 points, seven assists +29) enjoy courtside seats through the fourth quarter. ‘Twas a well-deserved rest. OG took his 23 points, four boards, a steal and a block clocked out with 7:30 to go. The crowd let him hear it, and loudly.

Malachi Flynn checked in and scored his first points as a Knick. McBride and Grimes added a little extra for the statsheet, and that was a wrap. We’ll give Stefan the final word: “Really wish they would fire Chauncey.”

Up Next

On Thursday, Julius will lead the Knicks into his hometown for a whack at Luka and the Dallas Mavericks. After what happened the last time those two teams met, I’m stoked for a rematch. Tonight though, I’m just enjoying the vibes. Safe travels, Knickerbockers.

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