From Peter Botte:
Two weeks after the Knicks failed to complete a stirring comeback in Portland — largely because they couldn’t stop Damian Lillard — they more than held their own in the point-guard battle against the Trail Blazers to post their second straight victory.
Elfrid Payton netted 22 points in his second strong performance in a row, rookie backup Immanuel Quickley kicked in 12 points in 13 minutes off the bench and both were active defensively against Lillard as the Knicks held off the Blazers for a 110-99 win Saturday at the Garden.
“We had to obviously take care of the problem, which is Dame. He’s the head of the snake for them. He creates most of the problems,” Julius Randle said after the Knicks improved to 11-13, the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference. “We just tried to show him as many bodies as we could.”
Randle finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds, RJ Barrett scored 18 and Alec Burks nailed four 3-pointers for 16 points off the bench for the Knicks, who next will play a home-and-home set against the Heat on Sunday afternoon at the Garden and Tuesday night in Miami.
As I was just saying about the Bulls game, when Elfrid Payton is playing well, the Knicks can beat any team in the NBA. The problem with that, of course, is that Elfrid Payton typically doesn’t play well, but boy, when he’s on, the entire team is dramatically altered (for the better).
Burks hitting a bunch of threes was nice, as well.
The Heat are in disarray right now, so there’s a legit chance that the Knicks can get to .500 after sweeping the Heat!
In less good news, the Knicks sound like they are seriously going to trade for Derrick Rose. Let’s see it actually happen before we pooh-pooh it (but then if it does happen, we shall pooh pooh it like crazy).