Simons' 3-pointer gave Portland an eight-point lead in the extra period and the Blazers held on when Grant made just enough of his 28 free throws, most by an NBA player this season. He hit 21, going 4 of 6 in OT.
Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups joked that he was disappointed that Grant’s missed free throws kept him from getting a nice number at Madison Square Garden.
“He had a chance to get 50 in the Garden and he missed all of those free throws,” said Billups, whose Detroit teammate Richard Hamilton had 51 points in a triple-overtime loss to the Knicks in December 2006.
Jusuf Nurkic finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Blazers, who snapped a four-game losing streak.
The last two losses came with All Star guard Damian Lillard sidelined with a right calf strain.
Grant and Simons weren’t too shabby with Lillard out.
“It’s extremely important,” said Grant of the responsibility he and Simons are shouldering while Lillard recovers.
Grant shot 10 for 20 from the field, including 3 for 4 from the 3-point line. Simons was 13 for 25 from the field while adding five assists and four rebounds.
“We know we got to be aggressive when Dame is out," Grant added. "We got to push the pace. We got to draw fouls and control the game.”
New York was 24 for 28 from the free throw line in comparison with the Trail Blazers, who were 38 for 51.
“You got to know your opponent well and then you also got to factor in how this game is (being officiated). Is it a physical game? Is it a game that’s being called tight?” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And then we have to adjust. We didn’t adjust. Fifty-one free throws? I can’t recall someone getting 28 in a game.”
Brunson put the Knicks ahead 116-114 with 13.7 seconds left after he backed down Trendon Watson into the paint and scored on a nifty, spinning layup with his left hand.
On the ensuing possession, Simons went up for a shot and was fouled, which the Knicks challenged.
The foul was not overturned and Simons sent the game into overtime with a pair of free throws with nine seconds left in regulation.
Portland opened the extra period with a 11-3 run, capped by Simons’ 3-pointer that made it 127-119 with 2:08 left to play. Nurkic scored five points in OT.
“It was huge. We didn’t want to make it easy, but we needed that,” said Josh Hart, who had a double-double with 10 points and 19 rebounds.
New York got within two points on Brunson’s driving layup that made it 129-127 with 14 seconds remaining. But Grant answered with a pair of free throws to extend the lead 131-127.
Brunson had a chance to make it a one-point game but missed a 3-pointer.
Portland opened an eight-point lead in the final minute of the third quarter, but neither team was ahead by more than six in the fourth. Brunson missed a short jumper that could have won it before the regulation buzzer.
Trail Blazers: F Drew Eubanks was held out of Friday’s game due to a spasm in his left lumbar.
Knicks: C Mitchell Robinson, who was limited to 17 minutes Monday at Oklahoma City because of soreness in his right knee, came off the bench and played 23 minutes. He had 12 points, eight rebounds and blocked two shots.
Trail Blazers: Remain in New York to close out their four-game road trip against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday afternoon.
Knicks: Host the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.
- Pat Fraher
- Curtis Blair
- CJ Washington