Unbeaten Blazers rally to ruin Knicks’ home openerBy BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer Saturday, Oct 30, 2010
NEW YORK (AP)—The elaborate pregame festivities were designed to emphasize that these are the “new” New York Knicks.
Crunch time was the same ol’ story.
The unbeaten Portland Trail Blazers spoiled the Knicks’ home opener, erasing a nine-point deficit in the final 5 1/2 minutes for a 100-95 victory Saturday night.
“We felt the pressure was still on them, this is their home opener,” guard Brandon Roy(notes) said. “We just wanted to keep consistent with our pressure and with our effort, and down the stretch we felt we forced them into some tough shots and we were able to get a win.”
Aldridge hit the tiebreaking free throw with 25.5 seconds left, and both he and Miller made two apiece in the final half-minute as the Blazers weren’t fazed by a close game after two double-digit victories to open the season.
“You don’t want to have to continue to do that, but these guys are not dropping their heads,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said. “They’re playing a 48-minute game.”
Wilson Chandler(notes) finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Knicks, who made only one field goal after taking a 92-83 lead with 5:31 remaining. Amare Stoudemire scored 18 points but turned it over six times in his home debut.
It was encouraging home start for the Knicks—until crunch time, when none of their new additions could find the basket.
“We just didn’t score. We were up nine. They made some nice shots. Things didn’t go well for us,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said.
New York’s lead was gone after Portland rallied to grab a 95-94 advantage on Miller’s 3-pointer with 2:08 to play. Felton’s foul shot tied it with 1:23 remaining, and it stayed that way until Aldridge was fouled on an offensive rebound and made one free throw for a 96-95 lead with 25.5 seconds left.
Marcus Camby(notes) blocked Felton’s drive, Aldridge made another free throw, and the Knicks lost a chance to tie when a ball that was originally called out of bounds on Portland with 6.5 seconds left was overturned when instant replay showed it was off Stoudemire. Miller then made two free throws to put it away.
“We’re still getting used to each other, still trying to get that chemistry, but things didn’t go our way,” Felton said. “I think we made some good plays, some good calls. It’s a tough loss, especially when you get a six-, seven-point lead going with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game. It’s tough to lose a game like that.”
It was an all-too familiar finish for a team trying to move away from its awful recent past.
The Knicks have 10 new players on the roster as they try to return to the postseason for the first time since 2004. New York shares the league’s longest current playoff drought with Minnesota and is mired in a franchise-worst stretch of nine straight losing seasons.
Boxing ring announcer Michael Buffer introduced the Knicks before the game, saying it was time to “turn the page to a new chapter of the New York Knicks.”
The first quarter was nothing new at all.
The Knicks surrendered 58 percent shooting, hit only 36 percent themselves, and trailed by as many as 10 points. The lead was still 10 midway though the second before reserve Chandler led a 16-3 run that gave New York a 42-39 lead on Felton’s 3-pointer with 1:54 remaining.
Chandler had 15 points and 12 rebounds in 17 minutes in the first half, which ended in a 44-all tie.
Notes: The Knicks fell to 33-32 in home openers. … Portland is 2-0 on a four-game trip that concludes with games Monday at Chicago and Tuesday at Milwaukee. … A Blazers spokesman confirmed the team won’t offer former No. 1 pick Greg Oden(notes) an extension on his rookie contract. The oft-injured center is still recovering from a fractured left patella last December that ended his season early.