Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Where does this team stand? The Portland Trail Blazers‘ playoff hopes are quickly sliding away with each loss they encounter. The lottery is the most-likely destination for this team come June, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to quit at any point this season. Matchup: Portland (29-34) vs. New York Knicks (38-23) Venue: Rose Garden Arena Time: 7:00 PM PT Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 The New York Knicks are coming to town, where they’ll be taking on Portland for the second time this year. The game will be on TNT, which means the Blazers will be playing for pride if nothing else come Thursday. Damian Lillard heroics helped Portland defeat New York early in the year. (Photo: AP) Game Notes/How They Match Up The Blazers and the Knicks have faced off once already this season, and that matchup proved to be one of the most surprising contests of the year. Portland entered that game as major underdogs. New York was 21-9 before falling to the Blazers, and it was looking like one of the most improved teams following 2011-12. But the Blazers stormed into Madison Square Garden with a purpose, and took down one of the best teams in the East in a high-scoring battle. This time around, the Knicks are in a dead sprint with the Indiana Pacers for the No. 2 spot in the playoffs. They’ll be tough to take down if they remain motivated, as they’re looking to win every winnable game the rest of the year. What to Watch: Portland When any team plays the Knicks, a high field-goal percentage becomes a must. New York has become a very good two-way team, as they’re top-10 in both points scored and points allowed. Shooting well is going to be especially important for Portland, as it has yet to prove it can win ugly on a consistent basis. In the first matchup between these two squads, the Blazers shot better than 50 percent from the floor. If the team can get that number near that mark again, it’s going to be a huge step in the right direction. A 40-percent showing won’t get it done against the Knicks, and Portland has to take advantage of any easy looks it gets. What to Watch: New York The Knicks began the 2012-13 season on fire from behind the three-point line. They proved that having a deep-ball threat and a good defense are no longer mutually exclusive, and when it came down to it, they were torching teams on a regular basis. Then the Blazers came to town, and the Knicks’ three-point attack shot just 27 percent on the night. Raymond Felton and Carmelo Anthony will look to do some damage against PDX. (Photo: Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) If the Blazers want to sweep the season series against New York, they have to defend the three-point line. Portland is the fifth-best team in the league when it comes to stopping the long-range shots, and that trend will have to continue Thursday. Key Matchup The most crucial matchup of this contest is going to be between Nicolas Batum and Carmelo Anthony. Both players have emerged as leaders—although Anthony is a clear step ahead—and both are less than 100 percent healthy. The battle between the two will be fun to watch, but when it comes down to it, that’s not the one fans are looking forward to Thursday night. The Trail Blazers have officially replaced Raymond Felton with Damian Lillard, and the Portland faithful couldn’t be more pleased. The New York Knicks’ point guard is set to make his return to the Rose Garden, and needless to say, he’ll be welcomed with boos all game long. This game is on national T.V., and while the broadcasters are bound to hit on the spoiled relationship between Felton and Rip City, nobody on the outside looking in will realize just how ugly it got. Felton recognizes that there’s bad blood between the two parties (via Al Iannazzone’s Twitter account), so it will be interesting to see how much revenge he’s able to exact. Raymond Felton said when returns to Portland tomorrow: “there are certain people there I don’t want to see and better not come near me.” — Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) March 13, 2013 Nothing would make fans happier than seeing Damian Lillard light up Felton. Look for both players to have a great game, but keep an eye out for Felton to have an extra boost of energy from start to finish. Injury Report Portland: DAY-TO-DAY—Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard, Victor Claver, LaMarcus Aldridge New York : OUT —Amar’e Stoudemire, DAY-TO-DAY—Carmelo Anthony Prediction The Blazers have shown heart as of late despite back-to-back losses. Don’t expect this game to be easy, but in front of a national television audience, the Rose Garden crowd might be enough to will this team to victory. Blazers 98 – New York 97 CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

FCS star QB considering transferring to Oregon

Gronk on interest in his partying: 'I'm a baller'

Jim Harbaugh looking to flip No. 1 quarterback recruit

Colts' suspension of Richardson voids $3.1 million

Five players replacing the biggest names in Pac-12 for 2015

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Broncos hire Phillips as defensive coordinator

LeBron James misses Cavs-Blazers game due to wrist injury

Iceman: Thompson’s 37-point quarter doesn't break his record

Mayweather visited Pacquiao’s hotel room for private meeting

Seahawks GM: Russell Wilson's contract 'presents challenges'

JR Smith: Lack of partying in Cleveland is better than NY

Padres are bringing back the brown pinstripes

Phil Jackson's old Knicks teams used to deflate balls

David Blatt: There should be more LeBron MVP talk

Richard Sherman, girlfriend expecting son during SB week

WATCH: Marshawn, Gronk play Mortal Kombat with Conan

Armstrong: I’d use PEDs again under same circumstances

Top five free agent quarterbacks

Report: NFL investigators to consult physicist on Deflategate

5 X-factors for Super Bowl XLIX

Best prop bets about the Super Bowl broadcast

Ten worst teams to ever play in a Super Bowl

Marshawn's new stiff arm to media: You know why I'm here

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Blatt wants more LeBron MVP talk

Best Super Bowl ads of all-time

5 X-factors for Super Bowl XLIX

Ten worst teams to ever play in a SB

Six MLB teams going all-in on 2015

Patriots' keys to Super Bowl victory

Seahawks' keys to Super Bowl victory

DeflateGate ball could fetch $50K

Doug Baldwin ready for Revis Island

Top storylines for Super Bowl XLIX

Barnes unhappy with NBA over fine

Does MLB need more offense in the modern game?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.