Some may say it was just what the doctor ordered Tuesday night.
The Trail Blazers say it was good to get a win.
The injury-riddled Blazers faced a team that is going through more trials and tribulations than they are: The NBA's worst team that is going through yet another coaching change.
The Knicks were losers of nine-straight heading into their game vs. Portland. Make that 10 straight.
The Blazers blew out the New York Knicks 115-87 behind Damian Lillard’s 31 points and Hassan Whiteside’s large and in-charge presence.
Whiteside started out the third quarter showing that he meant business against the Knicks. The Blazers starting center made his presence felt on both ends finishing with five blocks to go along with his 17 points and 15 rebounds. It was Whiteside's 16th double-double of the season.
The Blazers big man was also doing what he could to get Lillard open on the perimeter. It’s been an ongoing discussion how Lillard has been in teacher mode to make sure Whiteside understands how to set a good screen for Lillard.
Versus the Knicks, Whiteside set those solid picks Lillard was looking for. In turn, those picks helped Lillard go 8-for-12 from deep.
“I like that Dame shot 80 percent from three tonight,” Whiteside said with a smile. “He can light it up and getting them downhill. And when he gets downhill like that and he started getting it going, I’m just trying to get him open.”
For the 7-footer, he emphasized after the game how important it was to lock up the W.
“It’s always good to get a win. Every night we can’t overlook a win, overlook anybody... It was a good way to close the home stretch,” Whiteside said.
At the 4:39 mark of the third quarter, Lillard found Whiteside alongside the baseline and as Whiteside went up with the two-handed jam he was fouled from behind by Marcus Morris.
Whiteside had explained what happened on the play:
[Carmelo Anthony] threw it to Dame and he seen [Mitchell] Robinson jump for the shot block and I just went up with two hands because I didn’t know somebody was going to come from behind and whatever. It was a pretty good hit, but I got a weight room at my house, so it’s always good to have a weight room at your house.
“I just got excited,” Whiteside added while referencing his fist pump celebration after the play.
After starting in his second straight game since Rodney Hood went down with a season-ending injury, Kent Bazemore emphasized how important Whiteside has been anchoring the team down low.
He’s been super important for us, especially when he protects the rim like he does, getting us extra possessions, playing with a lot of energy and anytime he’s out there flexing with both arms, you know the night’s going well for him. Tonight was a fun game for us in so many aspects, good for everything to kind of click. -- Kent Bazemore postgame on the importance of Hassan Whiteside
Whiteside’s signature move as of late is him flexing on his opponent. That celebration move is now completely validated after finding out about the in-home weight room.
And when, Whiteside isn’t showing off his strength, he has been able to show of his length.
The Blazers used their length to their advantage against the lowly Knicks.
Whiteside played alongside Skal Labissiere for the first time this season. The Trail Blazers starting center said that Labissiere reminds him of Zach Collins and he wouldn’t mind seeing that lineup more often.
While Lillard agreed with Whiteside.
“With Skal and Whiteside out there, Skal moves pretty well and they had non-shooting bigs tonight and I think it worked because of those two reasons,” Lillard said.
The Blazers are going to need to use all their length and flexing on Thursday night in Denver as Portland faces Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.