NEW YORK (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 30 points, CJ McCollum had 21 of his 25 in the second half and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the New York Knicks 104-85 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight road victory.
The Blazers followed a fantastic February with a blistering start to March, winning for the 18th time in their last 22 games.
Lillard reached the 30-point mark for the eighth time in nine games and had 14, nearly half of them, in the final 4:25 of the first half.
Portland went 9-2 in February for the third-best month in franchise history. Lillard averaged 29.8 points in 11 games last month, fourth in the league, and his seven 30-point games tied with Stephen Curry for most in the NBA.
Nothing changed with the calendar, as the Blazers moved to 3-0 halfway through their road trip.
Carmelo Anthony had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, so hopeless in their 15th loss in 18 games that fans spent much of the fourth quarter chanting for Jimmer Fredette, who is nearing the end of his 10-day contract. The former college player of the year finally got in for the final 3:13 and finished with four points.
Portland won its fourth straight at Madison Square Garden and Terry Stotts improved to 7-1 against the Knicks at Blazers coach.
Portland had a one-point lead when Lillard re-entered with 4:25 left in the first half. He quickly nailed a jumper, two 3-pointers and three free throws, and added another 3 that gave the Blazers a 58-50 lead at the break.
McCollum took over from there, with seven points in the first 3 minutes of the third to push the lead into double figures. He closed the period with two baskets around Allen Crabbe‘s 3-pointer to make it 85-72 heading to a fourth quarter that was never close.
Trail Blazers: Stotts was the Western Conference coach of the month for February, tying Rick Adelman and Nate McMillan for the most by a Trail Blazers coach. He previously won the award in December 2014 and November 2013. “My reaction is that generally it’s about the players and how well they’ve been playing and how well the team’s doing,” Stotts said. “As a coach that’s your first thought, and also how appreciative I am of my staff. They do a great job. Players have really gotten better since we’ve been here and it has a lot to do with what they do with them every day.”
Knicks: New York had zero assists on its 11 first-quarter baskets. … Anthony had an embarrassing moment in the first quarter when he tried to dunk in frustration after a whistle for a ball out of bounds, but instead slammed the ball into the rim and ended up falling onto his back near the free-throw line.
Stotts was asked if Lillard had a case to win West player of the month honors. “Yup. I hope so,” Stotts said. “I don’t know who makes that decision but certainly there’s a case. We wouldn’t have had the month without him.” The players of the month for February, chosen by the league office, will be announced Thursday afternoon.
The teams wore special warmup shirts reading Los Blazers and Nueva York as part of the NBA’s Latin Nights program that runs in March. There will be nine games where a team will wear a special uniform in Spanish, including the Knicks in Nueva York uniforms on March 24 against Chicago.