The New York Knicks ended their western road trip with a 2-2 record, considering that their star point guard Jalen Brunson played only two quarters.
Tom Thibodeau’s team salvaged the record over the past six days after losing the first two games.
The Knicks beat the Lakers and the Trail Blazers, 123-107, at Moda Center.
Josh Hart, who nearly had a triple-double, stated that it was huge because sometimes teams just crumble when they don’t have one of their best players, and it’s essential to finish the road trip .500 and go back home.
Immanuel Quickley scored 26 points with 10 rebounds, and Julius Randle had 24 points and 10 boards, while Josh Hart contributed 16 points with nine rebounds and eight assists over 37 minutes, and the Knicks improved to 41-30 overall.
Cam Reddish, who was traded from the Blazers, was held to just two points off the bench in the first game between the teams.
With the win, they moved a game ahead of the Nets into the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Miles “Deuce” McBride registered a career-high 18 points, and RJ Barrett added 22 as the Knicks overcame a 16-point first-half deficit.
Damian Lillard scored 38 points and Anfernee Simons added 22 for the Blazers (31-38), who have dropped 12 of 17 since Feb. 4. Hart, who previously had been dealt by the Lakers and the Pelicans, didn’t seem particularly concerned about returning to Portland for the first time since becoming a Knick.
The Knicks missed their first seven shots, including four by Randle, and they trailed 33-20, after one quarter.
Early treys by McBride and Obi Toppin (11 points) in the second closed the deficit to eight.
Randle sank three late free throws for 13 points in the half as the Knicks climbed within six, 55-49, by intermission.
A 3-pointer from the left side by Quentin Grimes and a driving dunk by Randle pulled the Knicks even less than two minutes into the third.
Two more long-range buckets by McBride and another by Quickley helped the Knicks open a 91-81 advantage entering the final period before pulling away in the fourth.
Quickley stated that the mental toughness of the team helped them stay in the game.
They were not panicking early, knowing that Portland is a great team, but the Knicks felt like they could come back by sticking to the game plan and trying to make it tough for Lillard or Simons.