Trail Blazers at Knicks: Game 22
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  1. DHawes22
    Posts: 6488

    Posted 12/07/2009 12:53 PM

    After losing Greg Oden for the remainder of the season, only suiting up 9 healthy bodies, and without the services of their head coach, who is undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles, the Trail Blazers face arguably their most important 4 game stretch of the season. The 13-8 Blazers head into the Mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden, to take on the 6-15 Knicks. The Trail Blazers have won 5 straight in this series, with amny of the games going down to the wire or overtime. With only 9 players dressed down for the game, Portland better grab their track shoes, because the Knicks score over 102 a night and give up a staggering 108.

    There really is no need to throw stats out there, because Portland is without a major contributor to those statistics in Greg Oden and to a lesser extent Rudy Fernandez. This game will be won on the defensive end or whomever gets cold from the field. All hoops fans know Mike D'Antoni coached teams do not have an emphasis on defense, so the Blazers should be able to score at will if they attack the basket and take open shots. The way Portland loses this game is if they get into a track meet with the Knicks. I'm not saying the Blazers should refuse to run at all, because you could lose a lot of cheap, fast break points out of it, but they need to pick and choose their spots to run. Also, quick jumpers play right into New York's hands so if Portland wants to come away with a win, they should work the shot clock and make New York use some energy on defense.

    If the Trail Blazers want to have any chance at getting win #14, they must contain Nate Robinson, who, by definition, is a Blazer killer. Whenever the Blazers show up on the schedule, his game turns into overdrive. His numbers of 21.5 ppg, on 51.5% shooting, and 4.8 rpg against the Trail Blazers are career highs vs. any opponent in the league. To stop him, you must put a hand in his face and force him to take difficult, off-balanced jump shots. Oddly enough, he is not a player who gets going after a few inside buckets start to drop, because he is so short in stature, he makes his bread on the perimeter, so if there is a fast break, someone needs to pick him up.

    On paper, this is a game the Blazers should win, with or without a healthy lineup. Roy and Aldridge are much better than anything the Knicks can throw out there and Andre Miller isn't close behind, especially if he can carry us like he did against Houston. The million dollar question is how will the team's mental makeup be right now. Do they come out and play as one and still see the playoffs as a makeable goal or do they have a bit of a pity party for a few games? Personally, I have a feeling they will fight through the injuries and rally together in a "us against the world" mentality.

    Game 22 Prediction: Trail Blazers 102 Knicks 100
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