Matthews sharp from long range in Blazer win
PORTLAND — Wesley Matthews got a chance to practice his bow-and-arrow 3-point celebration on Sunday night.
Matthews made six 3-pointers and finished with 28 points, leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a 101-79 victory over the short-handed New York Knicks.
Matthews, around when the Blazers perfected the so-called "3 Goggles" some four years ago, and then toyed with the "3 Holster" gesture, now punctuates his 3-pointers by shootng an imaginary arrow.
Matthews, who leads the NBA with 106 3-pointers this season, made five 3s in the first half against the Knicks. Teammate Nicolas Batum had five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.
The Blazers went 16-for-6 from long range on the night. They have made at least 10 3s in five of their last six games.
"It's contagious. It was just a good vibe from the jump," Matthews said. "I think I missed the first one, but then Nic hit one, Damian (Lillard) hit one and I think the floodgates really opened."
It was the eighth straight loss for the Knicks, who had just nine available players to start the game, and then lost Carmelo Anthony for the second half because of a sore left knee.
Cole Aldrich had 12 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for New York, and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points.
Portland, which led by as many as 27 points, has won eight of its last nine games. The Blazers are 25-7 and have the most wins in the NBA.
But Portland was again without All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, who has missed three of the last four games with an upper respiratory illness, including the Blazers' 114-93 victory over Philadelphia on Friday.
The Knicks were without J.R. Smith, who is having ongoing issues with his left heel. Samuel Dalembert was sidelined by a sprained right ankle, and Amare Stoudemire missed the game with a sore right knee.
To make matters worse, Anthony, who missed two games earlier this season because of his knee, did not return for the second half. Anthony had 36 points in a 135-129 overtime loss at Sacramento on Saturday night.
The high-scoring forward had 13 points in the first half, but grimaced at times in pain.
"Tonight it feels like fatigue, and not getting a chance to recover from last night," Anthony said. "I felt this before the game, but I looked around the locker room and we have seven or eight guys ready to go — I really didn't have a choice but to go out there and attempt to play and see how much I could take."
Batum hit a 3 to extend Portland's lead to 50-32 in the second. At that moment of the game, 30 of Portland's points were from 3-pointers by either Matthews or Batum.
Knicks: It was the eighth of 20 back-to-backs for the Knicks this season. Among those, the Knicks have won just one of the second games. ... Aldrich's previous career high for rebounds was 13.
Blazers: C Chris Kaman was back on the floor a day after he and his wife Emilie welcomed baby Barrett Christopher Kaman, who weighed in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces. ... Portland has won 14 of its first 15 games against Eastern Conference foes.
Joel Freeland had 10 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. The British Olympian has been playing more at center while Robin Lopez recovers from a broken hand.
"Joel has just been solid," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "He does what he does well, he plays very hard. He plays his minutes hard."
Knicks coach Derek Fisher was asked about sitting Anthony for an extended period to address the sore knee.
"Carmelo is Carmelo. We don't necessarily make decisions for him," Fisher said. "He's part of the conversation. So we have opinions that we've expressed to him. We talk about different things, but really it is a decision that he has to also want to make for himself and his career. He's also conferenced about the team and his teammates, and so we'll continue to find a right balance of it all."
Knicks: Visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
Trail Blazers: Host Toronto on Tuesday.