Notice the contrast between the two rebuilding franchises.
December 2 Portland [First meeting of the teams this year.]
TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG New York Knicks-Offense 98.8 107 50.3 14.8 23.5 19.3 Rank 1 11 10 10 27 29 Portland Trail Blazers-Defense 86.2 107.3 49.7 16.2 25.2 23.5 Rank 30 18 21 13 8 13 New York Knicks-Defense 98.8 109.4 51.5 14.5 28.8 18.8 Rank 1 26 27 25.5 25 2 Portland Trail Blazers-Offense 86.2 113.5 51.4 15.1 32.8 22.1 Rank 30 2 3 12 1 21
Terrible Tuesdays continue for the Knicks (four Tuesday games, four playoff teams), this time Portland comes to town. In some ways, the Blazers are the Bizzaro Knicks. The Blazers are dead last in pace (86.6 possessions per game), while the Knicks are first in pace (98.7 possessions per game). The Blazers are a great rebounding team (detailed below), while the Knick are not. The Blazers waived a highly paid, petulant, offensive minded point guard before a power play between he and management became a distraction. The Knicks… well you know the story.
What to watch for 1: Rebounding. The Knicks are going to have trouble keeping the Blazers off the glass. The Blazers are 2nd in offensive rebound percentage (32.6%), and none too shabby on defensive glass securing all but 25.1% of defensive rebounds (6th). The Knicks give up 28.8% of all defensive rebounds (24th), while securing 23.5% of available offensive boards (27th). Long story short: make the first shot; there will not be many second chances.
What to watch for 2: The neutralization of David Lee. Lee at center is not going to have the easy match ups he had against the Warriors. Oden and Aldridge are solid interior defenders and strong shot blockers (2.7 and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes respectively). What Lee can do to help the team is work the pick and roll with Duhon and then hit the 15 footer with consistency (why don’t they run that more with Lee and Harrington’s mid range game?). If Lee can lure Oden out of the paint, it could open things up for drives to the lane (if only there was a Knick that liked to do that).
What to watch for 3: The Blazers are exceedingly efficient on offense (113.1, 2nd in the NBA) and from the floor (51.1 eFG%, 5th). The Knicks will need a solid defensive effort against this team.