NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randle believes times could be changing at Madison Square Garden.
“We feel like we have a good shot to win every night,” Randle said after the New York Knicks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 110-99 on Saturday.
Randle and Elfrid Payton scored 22 points apiece as the Knicks won their second straight and improved to 11-13. RJ Barrett scored 18 points, Alec Burks added 16 and fellow reserve Immanuel Quickley had 12.
“We feel like we can get even better,” Randle added. “We have a lot of guys who can bring (a lot of) different things to the table.”
The Trail Blazers went home disappointed with the result but not despondent. Damian Lillard said the lesson of the short-handed Blazers’ six-game road trip was they can still be productive even when facing adversity if they stay together.
“Obviously, we came in wanting to go 4-2, but I think given the circumstances, if we come on this this trip and we leave splitting it 3-3, we’ll take it,” Lillard said. “So I think that’s the lesson and (a) little disappointing to not be able to get this one tonight. We really wanted to get it and that would have been a great trip for us but we didn’t.”
The All-Star guard scored 29 points in his return to the lineup but Portland had its two-game winning streak end. Lillard, who missed Portland’s 121-105 victory at Philadelphia on Thursday with a strained abdomen, started and played 38 minutes.
Gary Trent Jr. added 19 for the Trail Blazers. Enes Kanter and Robert Covington had 13 apiece, and Anfrenee Simons finished with 12.
New York led 57-51 at the half and 84-76 after the third quarter, having outscored Portland 58-45 in the middle two quarters.
“We’re doing the things that are necessary right now,” Barrett said.
Portland cut it to 90-85 after Simons’ three-point play, but New York outscored Portland 16-7 in a span of 4:35 to extend its lead to 106-92. The spurt was highlighted by a breakaway dunk from Payton, and Burks draining a pullup 25-footer.
Trail Blazers: Carmelo Anthony was held to two points and is 12 away from passing Oscar Robertson for 12th place on the NBA’s career scoring list. Coach Terry Stotts said Anthony enjoys his returns to Madison Square Garden. “He relished his time with the Knicks. …It definitely has a special place for him,” Stotts said of the forward, who provides Portland with 12.6 points in 25.8 minutes per game as a reserve. “It is a luxury to have that scoring ability. …You want that scoring off the bench.”
Knicks: Though the Knicks are currently in playoff position in a supposed rebuilding season, coach Tom Thibodeau was uninterested in taking a victory lap. “Going into the season the focus was on daily improvement.,” he said before the game. “So that hasn’t changed. And obviously there are some things that we’re doing well and some things that we’re not doing as well as we would like. But we want to keep focused on each game, what’s exactly in front of us, build the right habits.”
Trail Blazers: Begin a three-game homestead Tuesday night against Orlando.
Knicks: Host Miami in another matinee on Sunday.