(12-8) -- (10-9)
|Madison Square Garden, New York, NY||MSG||7:30 PM EST|
|Portland Trail Blazers||New York Knicks|
|Al-Farouq Aminu - Right ankle injury (OUT)||Enes Kanter - Back spasms (QUEST)|
|-||Kristaps Porzingis - Back pain (QUEST)|
|-||Joakim Noah - Illness (OUT)|
NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks are a starkly different team at home, and their last two road games highlighted the disparities.
After two road losses, the Knicks return home to oppose the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.
The Knicks (10-9) blew a 17-point lead in a 116-104 loss Friday in Atlanta, then squandered a 22-point advantage in a 117-102 loss at Houston on Saturday.
New York is 9-3 at home, where it averages 109.4 points and shoots 47.9 percent. On the road, the Knicks are 1-6 while averaging 96.6 points on 44.9 percent shooting.
Enes Kanter missed both road games with a back injury while Kristaps Porzingis sat out Saturday with the same injury.
Kanter hopes to return the face the Blazers, but his status was questionable.
"I think I'm going to try to play the next game Monday," Kanter said. "I might not be 100 percent, but I'm going to try to play Monday. If they don't give me the green light, I can't do anything about it. But I want to play Monday for sure."
Porzingis is expected to return against Portland, but Kanter's continued absence could prompt the season debut of Joakim Noah, who was activated from a 20-game suspension on Nov. 13 but has yet to suit up. Noah was punished for violating the league's policy prohibiting performance-enhancing drugs.
Regardless of who plays, New York hopes to improve on offense.
The Knicks are averaging just 101 points per game over their past five, in which they went just 2-3. In the previous 11 games during an 8-3 stretch, New York averaged nearly 110 points per game.
Portland, meanwhile, hasn't exactly lit up the scoreboard, but with a standout defense, the Trail Blazers went 6-2 during their past eight games, and 4-1 in their past five after pulling out late wins in Brooklyn on Friday and Washington on Saturday.
Led by the superb backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum -- the tandem has combined to average 47.4 points per game, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists -- Portland has been particularly dangerous from outside of late.
On Saturday in a 108-105 comeback win at Washington, the pair combined for 55 points on 20-of-37 shooting. The duo combined for 24 of Portland's 35 points in the fourth quarter when the Trail Blazers rallied from a 17-point deficit in the final 8:14.
"It's the NBA -- a 20-point lead can turn into a one-point lead in a matter of two or three minutes if you execute the right way and get stops," Lillard said. "We did that. We gave ourselves a chance, finally. We got over that hump."
The Knicks will counter Portland's talented guards with a four-man backcourt rotation that has been maddeningly inconsistent in recent days.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has taken some of the scoring burden off of the mighty shoulders of Porzingis, scoring 38 in a 108-101 win over Toronto on Wednesday and 22 in a 116-104 loss at Atlanta on Friday. However, he had just 13 in a 22-point win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 20 and 11 on Saturday, when he went just 4 of 12 from the field.
While the Knicks are hoping for the return of Porzingis and Kanter, Portland remains without the services of one of its big men.
Al-Farouq Aminu has missed a dozen games with an ankle injury and isn't expected back anytime soon. Noah Vonleh has played well in his absence, averaging 5.2 points and 7.8 rebounds.
(cbssports.com via STATS)