The Portland Trail Blazers travel to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks. The Trail Blazers are currently riding high on confidence as they come into this tie on the back of 2 consecutive wins. The Knicks also clinched a victory in their last game and ended a 2 game losing streak.
Portland Trail Blazers vs New York Knicks - Combined Starting 5
Despite facing an injury crisis and missing regular starters like CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, the Portland Trail Blazers have been performing really well this season. They are currently 5th in the West and have been absolutely fearless. They beat East leaders, the 76ers without their best player Damian Lillard and displayed their grit and determination they have in them to win games.
The New York Knicks have performed much better than previous seasons this year and would want to do even better in the next few weeks. With the Portland Trail Blazers not at full strength, this is a fantastic opportunity for the New York Knicks to try and win the game. The Knicks haven't been able to build a winning streak in the last 7 games and they could be sensing a potential opening to change that.
Leading up to this match, the Portland Trail Blazers, despite the injury problems do look stronger than the New York Knicks. The potential return of Damian Lillard to the lineup will boost the chances of a Blazers win at the MSG even more.
However, the Knicks can be really good on their day so the Portland Trail Blazers will have to be wary of the threat Tom Thibadeau's men carry. They have shown the quality they possess early in the season when they went on a 3 game winning streak twice.
Point Guard - Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard has established himself as one of the best point guards in the league. His shooting range is as lethal as it gets. Damian has the potential to turn the game on its head and he is one of the few players who can come up big during clutch situations. Lillard is having a stellar season and currently averages 29.1 points per game, which is the 4th best in the league.
If Damian Lillard comes up big in this game, the New York Knicks will be in deep trouble. He is easily the best player between the two teams.
Shooting Guard - RJ Barrett
The third pick overall from the 2019 NBA draft, the New York Knicks young prospect RJ Barrett has been decent this season although he has the potential to be even better. His shooting has really improved in the last 10 games with field goal percentage of 50.1 and 40.7 from behind the arc.
Small Forward - Carmelo Anthony
With the injury crisis at its peak in the Portland Trail Blazers camp, coach Terry Stotts turned to his most experienced player, Carmelo Anthony. Melo started the last game against the 76ers and returned with 22 points, his 2nd consecutive game with 20+ points.
Although the former New York Knicks player has been a bench player for most of his Blazers' career, his experience has proved to be vital for the team. He still has a lot of basketball left in him and can prove to be a great asset for the Portland Trail Blazers this season. He will be eager to do well against his former team as makes his return to the MSG.