NBA regular season

Knicks’ rally falls short in loss to Blazers

Knicks’ rally falls short in loss to Blazers

HOT STREAK. Damian Lillard scores at least 35 points for the fourth time in the last 5 games.

Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers squander a huge double-digit lead in the second half but hold on down the stretch to beat the Knicks

Damian Lillard recorded 39 points and 8 assists to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 116-113 victory over the visiting New York Knicks on Sunday, January 24 (Monday, January 25, Manila time).

Lillard made 6 three-pointers and shot 11 of 17 from the field as he scored at least 35 points for the fourth time in the past 5 games.

He also made all 11 free-throw attempts to raise his consecutive streak to 66, breaking his own franchise mark of 64 set in March 2018.

The victory was the sixth in the past 8 games for Portland, which had games against Memphis on Wednesday and Friday postponed due to the Grizzlies’ coronavirus issues.

Anfernee Simons (16 points) and Derrick Jones Jr (14) each notched season-best point totals for the Trail Blazers. Carmelo Anthony scored 12 points and Gary Trent Jr added 11 for Portland, which connected on 47% of its field goal attempts and shot 17 of 46 from three-point range.

Rookie Immanuel Quickley established season-highs of 31 points and 5 three-pointers for the Knicks. Julius Randle scored 25 points and Alec Burks added 18 for New York, which shot 45.3% from the field and made 12 of 29 from behind the arc while losing its second straight contest.

New York trailed by 25 points early in the 3rd quarter before staging a frantic rally.

The Knicks moved within single digits when Kevin Knox made two free throws to cut the Blazers’ lead to 94-86 with 8:28 left in the game. A short time later, Quickley drained a long three-pointer to trim the deficit to 96-91 with 7:13 remaining.

But New York went more than 3 minutes without scoring and Portland took advantage as Robert Covington converted a layup and Lillard and Simons nailed three-pointers to make it 104-91 with 4:26 left.

New York later went on an 8-0 spurt, which was capped by 3 free throws from Quickley, who was fouled while shooting a three-pointer with 1:33 to play. That brought the Knicks within 106-102.

Later, Quickley again made 3 straight free throws after being fouled to pull the Knicks within 112-109 with 16.6 seconds left before the Trail Blazers closed it out.

Lillard scored 15 points in the opening quarter to help the Trail Blazers take a 37-24 lead. Portland led 70-50 entering the break.

The Trail Blazers were up 77-52 after Lillard hit a jumper with 10:12 left in the 3rd quarter, but New York began its charge. A jumper by Elfrid Payton with 14.5 seconds remaining in the period allowed the Knicks to trail 89-77 entering the final frame. –

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