|NBA Betting Preview: New York at Portland|
|Written by TheSpread|
|Wednesday, 03 January 2007 15:00|
Underdog Knicks Slightly Favored by Public Bettors Against Blazers
After going winless on the road in December, January hasn't started any better for the New York Knicks.
The struggling Knicks look to snap a six-game skid away from home Wednesday as they continue a five-game road trip against the Portland Trail Blazers.
New York (13-21) lost all five road games it played in December, but that was offset by a 7-4 record at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks started this trip with losses to Phoenix and the Los Angeles Clippers before dropping a 112-100 decision Tuesday to Sacramento.
Jamal Crawford scored 28 points and Stephon Marbury added 17 and eight assists, but New York couldn't overcome 20 turnovers and a career-high 39 points from Ron Artest.
Eddy Curry, the Knicks' leading scorer, contributed 19 points, but only eight in the second half. He faced near-constant double teams and lost steam after an impressive stretch on both ends of the court in the third quarter.
"I think my teammates did a good job looking for me, but Sacramento definitely made it difficult for me to get good looks,'' Curry said. "It was frustrating. I wish I could have done more.''
Portland (13-19) likely will follow the same formula as Sacramento, attempting to limit Curry's touches with double teams.
The Trail Blazers were successful with that plan in two meetings against the Knicks last season, limiting him to 13.0 points and 5.5 rebounds. Curry is averaging 12.6 points in 10 career games against Portland.
The Knicks could have guard Quentin Richardson available Wednesday for the first time in 10 games. Richardson, third on the team with 13.2 points, has missed nine straight with back spasms.
Second-year forward David Lee continued to be a bright spot for New York with 16 points and 15 rebounds. Lee ranks among the league leaders in rebounds (10.6) and has scored in double digits in eight of his last 10 games.
Portland (13-19) had one of its worst performances of the season Monday in its third straight loss, 89-81 to visiting Boston.
Rookie Brandon Roy led the Trail Blazers with 18 points, while star forward Zach Randolph was limited to a season-low nine on 4-of-11 shooting.
"We just had no energy," Randolph said. "Just a bunch of blank looks on our faces. Just one of those nights."
It was the fifth loss in six games overall for Portland, which has lost three of four at home to some of the weakest teams in the Eastern Conference - Toronto, Philadelphia and Boston.
"We just have to work, as simple as that," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "It's not just the offense, it's the defense, too. Right now we are not working hard enough to win ballgames."
Randolph has been a bright spot in a disappointing season for the Blazers, averaging team highs of 24.3 points and 10.4 rebounds. He complained that his surgically repaired right knee was sore on Monday and that obviously contributed to the end of his 35-game double-digit scoring streak.
The Knicks have won three of five overall against the Blazers, but have lost six in a row at Portland. New York's last win there was a 93-89 victory on March 26, 2000.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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