The Knicks are losing ground in the race for second place in the Eastern Conference and first place in the Atlantic Division. Can they turn things around Thursday night in Portland?
Tipoff will be at 10:30. Here are a few things to watch:
TYSON'S TROUBLES: Tyson Chandler is out tonight against the Blazers.
Chandler left Wednesday’s 23-point loss to the Nuggets late in the first half with a bruised left knee. He did not return to the game but told reporters he planned to play in Portland.
Chandler suffered a bone bruise on his left knee in the Knicks’ final preseason game against the Nets and played in the Knicks’ season-opener eight days later. So there's that.
If Chris Copeland, Kurt Thomas and Kenyon Martin don't step up in the starting lineup, Chandler's injury could be crippling for the Knicks. Portland outrebounded New York, 47-37, in its win at MSG on Jan. 1. The Knicks have been outrebounded by a margin of 112-75 in their past two games.
Not surprisingly, they’ve lost both by a combined 52 points.
Felton was in Portland for one forgettable season before a trade sent him to the Knicks over the summer. He came into the 2011-12 season out of shape because he didn’t think the NBA lockout would end. And he didn’t endear himself to the fans or the organization with his poor play for most of the year.
It sounds like there’s no love lost from Felton’s perspective, either.
“I think probably the worst moment I had in basketball was there, for sure,” Felton told reporters with the Knicks in Denver. “I’m not going to put it on the fans. Some of the fans there were great. I made a lot of good friends there. I met a lot of good, real Portland Trail Blazers fans there. I’m not going to talk junk about the fans there. Certain people there I don’t want to see and better not come near me.”
WHAT ABOUT THE OFFENSE? Anthony’s back in New York getting his knee drained, so where is the offense going to come from?
The obvious option is J.R. Smith, but the Knicks’ sixth man has struggled lately. He’s been held to just 24 points on 8-for-23 shooting over the past two games.
Maybe the Knicks can get points from Iman Shumpert? The second-year guard scored 20 points on Wednesday in his best offensive game since returning from ACL surgery. Shumpert made eight of his 10 attempts against the Nuggets. He also hit four of his five 3-point attempts and was the lone bright spot for the Knicks on a forgettable night.
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