7:30 PM ET, March 22, 2007
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
NEW YORK -- With time running out in the season, New York needs every victory it can get.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, somebody gave them this one before they went out and earned it.
Stephon Marbury made only 6 of 22 field-goal attempts, and as usual that spelled defeat for the Knicks, who fell to the Trail Blazers, 92-86. Marbury has missed more than 15 FGAs 28 times in his career, and his teams have a 4-24 record in those games.
Jarrett Jack added 15 points for the Trail Blazers, who gained some extra incentive from a story that counted this game as a victory for the Knicks in their quest for a playoff berth.
"I don't know who it was, but we saw somebody, they had the rest of their games, and it had a check mark for a win, and an X next to the team for a loss," Jack said. "And it had a check mark by our name. Somebody showed me this morning. I don't know if that was some added motivation, but we all saw it. Sometimes reporters get the other team in trouble."
The Trail Blazers were without leading scorer and rebounder Zach Randolph for the second straight game while he is on bereavement leave. But it didn't matter because Magloire took advantage of the extra minutes and came up with 14 points, tying a season high, and a season-best 16 rebounds while thoroughly outplaying Knicks center Eddy Curry.
"I feel confident in my game," Magloire said. "I've worked tremendously hard, not only in the offseason, every day during the regular season. And just given the opportunity, I'll always produce and do well."
LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 12 points for Portland, which opened a four-game trip with its second straight victory after a four-game skid.
"I really do like the way we're playing," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "A gutty performance, scrappy execution."
Nate Robinson made eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 31 points for the Knicks, who lost for the fourth time in five games and missed a chance to move into a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Stephon Marbury added 17, but Curry managed only eight points and four rebounds.
Top reserve David Lee returned to the Knicks after missing 11 games with injuries to his right leg, checking in with 3:10 remaining in the first quarter. He was scoreless in 10 minutes.
Marbury and Channing Frye both started after being knocked out of New York's loss to Dallas on Tuesday with injuries. But the Knicks, still missing injured starters Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson, finished 1-3 on their homestand, with two losses to sub-.500 teams.
"It's not getting any easier," Curry said. "These are games we feel like if we could have won these, it would have definitely put us in a better position than we are right now. But I think we can still match up with these teams we have left."
Portland was 21-for-31 from the line, while the Knicks went 10-for-14. The Knicks shot only 40.5 percent from the field as they struggle to get by without two of their best perimeter shooters.
"Missing those guys, and that's no excuse, but teams that figured out how to play us right now, we've got to find a way to play," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "They're double-teaming and triple-teaming Eddy. We've just got to find a way to score the basketball."
Curry's basket tied it at 50 with 9:36 left in the third quarter, but that was New York's last field goal for 8 minutes. The Blazers followed with a 17-3 run, taking a 67-53 lead with 2:40 remaining when Robinson and Steve Francis practically crashed into each other in the backcourt and left the ball behind, leaving Roy with an uncontested dunk and bringing loud boos from the Madison Square Garden crowd.
The Knicks finally ended their drought when Robinson hit the first of his consecutive 3-pointers with 1:38 to go. The Blazers led 69-62 after three.
Robinson kept New York in it, making all three free throws after he was fouled behind the arc, then making another 3 to cut Portland's lead to 86-84 with 2 1/2 minutes left. But after a free throw by Roy, Aldridge was left alone under the basket for a dunk and a five-point advantage with 1:43 to go.
Roy got off to a quick start, scoring 13 points in the first quarter to lead Portland to a 26-20 lead. Robinson, his former college teammate at Washington, hit four 3-pointers in the second period to give New York the lead, but the Blazers went into halftime with a 45-44 edge on Travis Outlaw's jumper with 23 seconds remaining.
New York was playing its lone Thursday night game of the season. TNT usually shows an NBA doubleheader on Thursdays, and the Knicks weren't deemed ready for prime time after going 23-59 last season. ... The Knicks had won three straight and six of the past seven meetings at Madison Square Garden. ... Aldridge was taken second overall by Chicago in last year's draft, a pick the Bulls acquired from the Knicks in the preseason trade that sent Curry to New York.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||33-72 (.458)||32-79 (.405)|
|3PM-3PA||5-14 (.357)||12-27 (.444)|
|FTM-FTA||21-31 (.677)||10-14 (.714)|
|Fast Break Points||11||12|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||15 (1/0)||23 (1/0)|