The injury-plagued New York Knicks look to bounce back from one of their worst offensive games of the season on Thursday as they try to sweep the Portland Trail Blazers for the first time in seven years.
New York (30-37) is in a battle with New Jersey, Orlando and Indiana for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference, but has lost three of its last four games while its injury list has grown.
The Knicks have been playing without Jamal Crawford (stress fractured right ankle), David Lee (right leg bone bruise) and Quentin Richardson (sore lower back), and had two more starters go down in their 92-77 loss to Dallas on Tuesday.
Point guard Stephon Marbury left with about 5 1/2 minutes remaining with a left arm injury, and Channing Frye missed most of the second half after getting poked in the right eye. However, Marbury said he could have returned and expects to play Friday, as does Frye despite a corneal abrasion.
“We have a lot of games to win and a great opportunity. We have too much important stuff to play for,” Frye told the team’s official Web site. “We’ve come a long way and I want to be there to enjoy the results.”
Crawford and Lee have been sidelined since late February, and Richardson has sat out the last three games. While Crawford is expected to miss the rest of the regular season, Lee and Richardson both could return sometime this month.
“When we recover we will play well,” coach Isiah Thomas said. “I expect us to play well the next game. We will patch up the troops, go out and win a basketball game.”
New York matched a season low in points and shot just 35.9 percent from the floor on Tuesday, two days after routing Atlantic Division-leading Toronto 92-74.
The Knicks are 1-2 on a four-game homestand, but have won three straight home games over the Trail Blazers (27-40), and six of seven against them at Madison Square Garden.
New York, which beat Portland 99-81 on Jan. 3, has not swept a season series from the Blazers since 1999-2000.
Eddy Curry had 27 points and 10 rebounds in that January meeting, and he fought off a back problem to finish with 22 points and 12 boards against Dallas on Tuesday.
Portland defeated Washington 100-98 on Tuesday, snapping a four-game losing streak.
“At the end it was obvious Brandon was going to take over the game,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “He knows we’re coming to him when the game is on the line.”
Roy, one of the top candidates for Rookie of the Year honors, had 14 points against the Knicks earlier this season.
Portland, which has lost eight of 10, will once again be without leading scorer Zach Randolph due to a bereavement leave. Randolph flew back to his hometown of Marion, Ind., after a cousin of his longtime girlfriend was shot and killed at a motorcycle club there on Sunday.