Knicks takeaways from Tuesday’s 123-107 win at Trail Blazers, including bench stepping up

Mar 14, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) drives to the basket during the first half against Portland Trail Blazers guard Matisse Thybulle (4) at Moda Center.

Mar 14, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) drives to the basket during the first half against Portland Trail Blazers guard Matisse Thybulle (4) at Moda Center. / Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks finished their West Coast road trip with a 123-107 win over the Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

With Jalen Brunson missing another game due to a sore foot, Immanuel Quickley started in his place alongside Julius Randle, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.

Here are the takeaways….

– The start of the game was rough for the Knicks. Every type of shot they attempted missed and turnovers helped Portland go out to a 8-0 lead with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter to force a Tom Thibodeau timeout. A Barrett three got the Knicks on the board with less than eight minutes remaining, the Knicks were 0-for-7 from the field before that shot. Randle didn’t get his first field goal until two minutes left in the quarter. The Knicks would briefly get the Blazers lead down to 10, but would give up a couple of baskets to go down 33-20 after one.

Randle ended with 10 points on 3-of-11 but picked up his third foul in the closing seconds of the quarter. The Knicks shot just 32 percent (7-of-22) including 1-of-8 from three. Portland shot 50 percent (13-of-26).

-The second quarter started with Josh Hart, Isaiah Hartenstein, Barrett, Obi Toppin and Miles McBride. A couple of threes from Toppin and McBride forced a Portland timeout as they cut the lead to single digits. Both teams would go on mini runs to put the score at 50-40 with less than four minutes to go, which is when Randle checked back in. He and Damian Lillard took it upon themselves to get to the basket to draw fouls, which were at a premium in this quarter. Portland did not score a field goal for the final three-plus minutes before Lillard hit a three in the closing seconds to push the lead to 55-49 at halftime.

The Knicks improved to shoot 40 percent (8-of-20) in the second quarter, but it was their defense and rebounding that got them back in the game. They allowed Portland to shoot just 26 percent (6-of-23). Randle led the team with 13 points on 3-of-13 shooting (he shot 7-of-9 from the free-throw line). Quickley had nine points on 3-of-7 shooting while Hart and Barrett added eight and seven points, respectively.

– The Knicks started the third being aggressive and got to the line. They would tie the game at 55 with 10 minutes to go. the tides changed soon after when Lillard got fouled on a three. After making the first two, he would miss the third free throw but picked up his own rebound and hit a jumper for an untraditional four-point possession. One backdoor-screen later, which put Portland up 66-61, and Thibodeau had to call timeout with 7:45 remaining in the third quarter. The Knicks would chip away with defense and balanced scoring and eventually got their first lead of the game at 3:54 remaining at 75-74. An 11-2 run by the Knicks — highlighted by two McBride threes — gave New York their biggest lead at 86-78.

A 42-point quarter gave the Knicks a strong 91-81 lead heading into the final quarter. They shot 71 percent (15-of-21) to Portland’s 35 percent. The Knicks had a balanced attack as Randle (20), Quickley (23) and Barrett (17) contributed to New York’s scoring thus far. Lillard had an impressive 32 points at this point, but hasn’t received much help. The next highest-scoring Blazer was Matisse Thybulle and Anfernee Simons with 14 points each.

– The Knicks opened up a 5-0 run to start the fourth, all by McBride. The Knicks would get to the basket whenever they wanted against this Blazers defense, with the bench putting in good minutes for Thibodeau. The Blazers would hit a few threes to try to get back in, but great defense held them at bay midway through the fourth. Lillard, who finished with 38 points, would try to keep it close, but the Knicks had their way and pulled out the 123-107 win.

The Knicks bench was the story of this game. They outscored Portland’s bench, 45-12. McBride had a career-high in points (18), threes made (4) and blocks (2) to go along with his three assists and one steal. Hart nearly had a triple-double, scoring 16 points, bringing in nine rebounds and dishing eight assists. Toppin contributed with 11 points and Hartenstein picked up 11 rebounds off the bench.

This version of the Knicks’ Big Three all scored north of 20 points. Quickley had 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting (4-8 from three), Randle had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Barrett scored 22 points.


What’s next

The Knicks return home to take on the Denver Nuggets on Saturday starting at 1 p.m.