2009 Game Thread/Preview Knicks @ Blazers

Well “Dream Week” is over and not a moment too soon.  New York went 0-3 against 3 of the NBA top five teams.  I cant say I’m surprised but I am happy about the quality of play.  If the energy and execution remain high, New York could manage a winning record on this west coast swing.  First order of business is Portland (30-19) who beat New York 104-97 on December 2, 2008. 

New York Knicks-Offense 97.2 107 50 15.4 23.9 21.1
Rank 2 16 12 16 28 27
Portland Trail Blazers-Defense 86.2 109.2 50.8 15.7 25.1 24.2
Rank 30 21 23 12 7 16
New York Knicks-Defense 97.2 109.4 51.4 14.8 27.2 21.2
Rank 2 22 27 20 19 6
Portland Trail Blazers-Offense 86.2 113.3 50.6 14.8 32.7 24.3
Rank 30 2 10 10 1 15

What to watch for: Joe Przybilla.  Yeah, I know what you are thinking but it was big Joe that really sealed the win for Portland when they came to MSG.  Big Joe pulled down 14 boards (4 on offensive glass) and blocked 2 shots.  New York needs to keep him-andthe rest of the team- off the offensive glass.  Portland is a very efficient team on offense (2nd, 113.3 pts per 100 poss) andthey are strong on the offensive glass as well (1st).  The last thing New York should do is give this team second chance points.

What to watch for 2:  Portland’s defense.  Portland is not a very good defensive team.  They are in the bottom third of the NBA in defensive efficiency (21st,  109.2) and defensive eFG% (23rd, 50.8%).  New York should exploit this by getting into theiroffense well before Portland can react.  Lee and Harrington should look to beat Oden, Aldridge, and Pryzbilladown the floor as often as they can.  Portland is not used to a fast pace as they are last in the NBA in possessions (86.2).  New York should try to take the team out of their comfort zone by pushing the pace.

What to watch for 3:  Three point defense.  Portland’s Blake, Fernandez, and Outlaw are each shooting better than 39% from distance.  As I expect New York to double Aldridge and Oden in the paint, Portland’s shooters will have more open looks if New York does not improve the defensive rotations.  Hopefully, JJ can play well enough on Aldridge to reduce to need for doubles.

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Thomas B.

@Don't bother; I don't tweet