It was a full team effort Thursday night as the Portland Trail Blazers (12-9) took down the No. 1 team in the East, the Philadelphia 76ers.
With a total of six players out due to injury including four starters, Portland’s role players stepped up on both ends led by Gary Trent Jr.'s 24 points.
Now the Blazers wrap up their six-game road trip Saturday with an early game at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Blazers and New York Knicks (10-13) will meet for the final time of the season.
The Blazers defeated the Knicks, 116-13 on Jan. 24 in Portland after Damian Lillard scored 39 points on 11-of-17 shooting to go along with five rebounds, eight assists and one steal.
In their last meeting, Immanuel Quickley led New York with a career-high 31 points.
Portland has won seven of its last eight matchups with the Knicks, including two of the last three at MSG.
Saturday, the Blazers will be without Nassir Little (left knee sprain), CJ McCollum (left midfoot fracture), Jusuf Nurkic (right wrist fracture), and Zach Collins (left ankle stress fracture).
Portland has also listed Damian Lillard (abdominal strain) and Derrick Jones Jr. (left foot sprain) as probable.
For the Knicks, Nerlens Noel (left knee; sore) is probable. Ignas Brazdeikis (G League), Jared Harper (G League) and Dennis Smith Jr. (G League) are out.
Following Thursday’s game, our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes discussed how Portland was able to take care of business against the Sixers without Damian Lillard:
It was a reminder of why not to bet on NBA games. And an illustration of how well things can go when a team moves the ball, moves its bodies and plays unselfishly.
No hero ball in Philadelphia Thursday night. It was team basketball. Winning basketball.
And the undermanned Trail Blazers posted what has to be one of the biggest upsets of the season thus far, a 121-105 win over the Philadelphia 76ers that assured Portland at least a .500 record on its longest road trip of the season. The Blazers have won three of five on the trip with a matinee scheduled against the Knicks Saturday. Philadelphia came into the game as the leader of the Eastern Conference with a 10-1 home record and eight wins in its last 10 games.
Portland played without injured Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, Derrick Jones Jr., Nassir Little and Zach Collins. In other words, four of the five players who were in the starting lineup opening night sat this one out.
After a halftime tie, the Trail Blazers outscored the Sixers 40-19 in the third quarter and rolled to an easier win than the final score indicated, leading by as many as 29.
As might be expected, heroes for Portland were plentiful as the team did one of its best jobs this season of moving the ball, moving bodies and sharing the load at both ends of the court.
Read more here.
Here’s what you need to know about Saturday’s matchup --
- Damian Lillard has scored at least 30 points in five of his last eight games against New York. And has averaged 21.2 points over his eight career games at Madison Square Garden.
- Derrick Jones Jr. scored a season-high 14 points (5-8 3-PT, 1-3 3-PT, 3-5 FT), to go with five rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes on Jan. 24 against the Knicks. Jones has finished with exactly 14 points in two of his last three games against New York.
- Anfernee Simons had what was then a season-high 16 points (6-9 FG, 4-6 3-PT), three rebounds and two assists on Jan. 24. Simons is averaging 11.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists over his three career games against the Knicks.
- Julius Randle had 25 points (7-18 FG, 1-1 3-PT, 10-11 FT), seven rebounds, five assists and two steals on Jan. 24 at Portland. Randle recorded a career-high 45 points (20-34 FG, 2-7 3-PT, 3-11 FT) against Portland on Mar. 15, 2019 while with New Orleans.
- Alec Burks added 18 points (6-9 FG, 5-8 3-PT, 1-2 FT), four rebounds and three steals in 27 minutes on Jan. 24.
POINT SPREAD: -- Odds provided by our partner PointsBet
HOW TO WATCH:
When: Saturday, Feb. 6
Where: Madison Square Garden | New York, NY
Start time: 10:00 a.m. PT
TV channel: NBCSNW, the official network of the Portland Trail Blazers
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