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Knicks’ win ensures Blazers of losing season

Sportsnaut
Mar 16, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) goes up for a shot against Portland Trail Blazers guard Josh Hart (11) and Portland Trail Blazers forward Trendon Watford (2) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

RJ Barrett scored 31 points and Julius Randle flirted with a triple-double Wednesday night for the host New York Knicks in a 128-98 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Randle finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Knicks, who were rarely threatened by the Trail Blazers. The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for New York, which remained 5 games out of 10th place in the Eastern Conference and the final spot in the play-in tournament.

The Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks swapped spots Wednesday following the Hornets’ 116-106 win.

Immanuel Quickley scored 18 points while Evan Fournier (14 points), Obi Toppin (13 points) and Alec Burks (10 points) also got into double figures for the Knicks.

Josh Hart scored 17 points as the skidding Trail Blazers lost for the eighth time in nine games to fall to 26-42, which ensured the franchise’s first losing season in a full 82-game schedule since the 2012-13 team went 33-49. Portland remained a game behind the New Orleans Pelicans in the race for 10th place in the Western Conference.

Brandon Williams had 14 points while Kris Dunn finished with 13 points off the bench for the Trail Blazers, who received 11 points from Trendon Watford and 10 points from Drew Eubanks.

A 3-pointer by Justise Winslow gave the Trail Blazers their lone lead at 11-9 with 7:16 left in the first quarter. Fournier hit a 3-pointer on the next trip down the floor for the Knicks, who ended the period on a 28-18 run, a span in which Barrett scored nine points as New York twice took 10-point leads.

The Knicks led 37-29 at the end of the first before the Trail Blazers opened the second with a 10-5 spurt that ended with Winslow’s layup with 9:27 remaining. New York scored the next six points, led by at least six the rest of the half and headed into the locker room with a 66-55 lead following four unanswered free throws by Randle.

After the Trail Blazers cut the deficit to 78-70 with 4:57 left in the third, the Knicks took control for good with a 16-4 run to end the quarter. New York led by as many as 33 in the fourth.

–Field Level Media