TRAILBLAZERS at the KNICKS 3/29
Tonight at 7:30 pm the NY KNICKS will host the PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, NY.NY. which matches two teams that are fighting for their playoff lives.
NY comes in on 1 day rest, having played 3 in the last 4 days. PORTLAND also comes in on 1 day rest, but having played 3 in the last 6 days, with 2 of the last 3 going into OT.
On 3/22 PORTLAND hosted HOUSTON, in a game that saw HOUSTON blow a 17 point lead and barely send the game into OT on a YAO MING layup with 20 sec on the clock.It was all HOUSTON in the OT, 10-2, and the ROCKETS prevailed 93-85.
On 3/24 PORTLAND, again playing at home, outlasted the LA CLIPPERS 91-85. The CLIPPERS had an 11 point lead in the 3rd period, only to turn the ball over on their next 6 possessions and see the TRAILBLAZERS go on a 12-0 run to take the lead by 1. It then became the DAMON STOUDEMIRE show, who scored the last 15 points for PORTLAND.
The last game they played was hosting SEATTLE at the ROSE GARDEN in a very hard fought game that went into OT on a ZACK RANDOLPH hook shot with 6 ticks in regulation. PORTLAND was lucky to prevail 115-108 in a game that was draining on both teams. PORTLAND(37-35) is tied with UTAH(38-36) for the 8th spot in the WEST. DENVER is 38-39. PORTLAND tonight at NY starts a 3 game road trip for the BLAZERS. BOSTON and then PHILADELPHIA are next. This road trip, I feel, will decide their playoff future.
NEW YORK, on the other hand, at 34-40 is 1/2 game up on BOSTON(33-40) who occupies the 8th spot in the East at present. Although they have won 5 of their last 8, NEW YORK is a beat up team without ALLEN HOUSTON, TIM THOMAS and HARDAWAY who plays half the time. MILWAUKEE 36-37, MIAMI 35-38, and NEW ORLEANS at 37-36 will make the EAST race very exciting entertainment in the next week or so for NBA fans.
NEW YORK in their last game, played at the PALACE of AUBURN HILLS(DETROIT), were completely dominated by the PISTONS on 3/27. DETROIT, playing without RASHEED WALLACE, led by as many as 27 and easily took care of the KNICKS 100-85.
Before that, on 3/26 they hosted TORONTO, and went on a 12-0 run after trailing by 4 in the 4th period to win 108-101. TORONTO could not stop the inside game of STEPHON MARBURY in that final period.
Previous to that game, they hosted a very fiesty MEMPHIS team that dominated them 111-97 on 3/24. That game was no contest with MEMPHIS prevailing in all catagories.
In the only meeting of these two juggernauts
this season on Dec. 5th at the PORTLAND ROSE GARDEN the TRAILBLAZERS turned in an 88-81 win. At that time NEW YORK had KIETH VAN HORN(15 pts) instead of TIM THOMAS, and a healthy ALLEN HOUSTON(13 pts). NEW YORK did not have STEPHON MARBURY who they acquired from PHOENIX on Jan 5th. PORTLAND had JEFF McGINNIS(now with CLEVELAND on the injured list) in the spot now occupied by DARIUS MILES. PORTLAND did not have RAHIM AND RATLIFF(acquired from ATLANTA on FEB 20 in trade for RASHEED WALLACE) and these two will make their presence known, I believe, tonight.
NEW YORK led in that game 63-62 to start the 4th period, but were outplayed 26-18 in that quarter.
That game was the 4th straight win for the TRAILBLAZERS over the KNICKS.
Tonight, and for the rest of the soon to be over season, I do not feel that STEPHON MARBURY can carry the entire load for the NEW YORK fans. Although he has his great moments, 1 man can not do it alone, and I think he will be outmatched tonight, although it is a tired PORTLAND team that he faces. LENNY WILKENS, one of the greatest coaches in the history of the game, faces quite a dilemma tonight, and NEW JERSEY, PHILADELPHIA and INDIANA are waiting in the wings. PORTLAND to cover the gracious -1 spread in a game that will see NEW YORK be highly competitive. If you do not like the pick, God knows I've given you enough information to make a wise choice.