Trail Blazers-Knicks Preview

The Associated Press

With their previously high-scoring offense in the midst of a slump, the Portland Trail Blazers' outstanding start seems like a distant memory.

Following a loss to the NBA's worst team, the same could be said of the New York Knicks' recent bid to turn things around.

The Trail Blazers will try to avoid their fifth straight road loss while handing Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks their third defeat in a row Wednesday night.

Though All-Stars Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 45 points, Portland (34-14) failed to score more than 90 for the third time in four games in a 100-90 loss at Washington on Monday.

The Blazers had a 61.0 field-goal percentage in the first half before shooting 6 for 17 while getting outscored 26-14 in the third quarter.

Since averaging 109.6 points and hitting 39.7 percent from 3-point range during a 31-9 start, the league's highest-scoring team has put up 100.0 per game with a 28.8 shooting percentage from beyond the arc while losing five of eight.

Lillard and Wesley Matthews rank among the league leaders in 3-pointers, but they were a combined 3 for 13 as the Blazers missed 14 of 19 from long range Monday.

"When you aren't having a great night, defensively, you have to find a way to at least make shots," said Lillard, who has averaged 23.3 points on 50.9 percent shooting in three meetings with the Knicks. "When you are making shots, you have to find a way to get it done, defensively."

The Blazers haven't done much of either on the road, dropping a season-worst four straight by an average of 11.5 points. They'll attempt to end that skid with their sixth win in eight visits to Madison Square Garden.

After a four-game winning streak that followed a five-game slide, the Knicks (19-29) are hoping to end another losing streak while bouncing back from a 101-98 loss at lowly Milwaukee on Monday.

Anthony and J.R. Smith combined for 66 points while making 11 of 21 from 3-point range, but Brandon Knight sank a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left to give the Bucks only their ninth win of the season.

''There are no freebies in the NBA," center Tyson Chandler said. "You can lose on any night to any team if you don't play well."

New York has totaled 189 points despite shooting 26 for 60 (43.3 percent) from beyond the arc in consecutive losses after scoring 116.5 per game during its winning streak.

Anthony has averaged 35.3 points while shooting 20 for 42 from 3-point range over his last six games, and he's scored a combined 79 in his last two against the Blazers.

The seven-time All-Star had 34 points and 15 rebounds in a 102-91 loss at Portland on Nov. 25. Lillard and Nicolas Batum led the Blazers with 23 points apiece, while Aldridge added 18 points and 14 boards.

Smith, who scored just six in that contest, has averaged 18.8 points and made 29 of 58 from 3 in his last nine games.

Anthony scored 45 and Smith added 28 in a 105-100 loss in the most recent matchup in New York on Jan. 1, 2013. Lillard, Batum and Aldridge combined for 66 points.

Batum has averaged 21.7 points during Portland's three-game winning streak in this series.

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