PORTLAND, Ore. — Another game out West. Another choke of a double digit lead.
And this was the most shameful. The Knicks gagged on a 23-point advantage in the second half as the Trail Blazers pounded them into submission in the second half with a 40-16 run and posted a 112-103 come-from-behind shocker Saturday at Moda Center.
The Knicks were outscored 35-11 in the fourth quarter from hell, and it’s going to be a looong redeye home.
The Knicks finished their Western swing 1-4. In three of those losses, the Knicks had double-digit leads, including a 21-point bulge in Los Angeles. They fell to 25-32 and wasted one of Kemba Walker’s best games and couldn’t build on their Golden State shocking win.
The Blazers (23-34) are coming off a trade-deadline firesale, but they still have the young Anfernee Simons who finished with 30 points. Portland’s newly acquired Josh Hart scored 23 in his Blazers debut.
The Knicks were rolling along with Walker, who scored 23 points, sizzling and Julius Randle dominating again as he has all trip. But Randle, facing hard double teams, quieted, and he committed two straight turnovers during the fourth-quarter blitz — bouncing a ball off his foot and out of bounds, then firing a pass that was intercepted.
The bold Blazers finally took the lead with 3:20 left on a dunk by Jusuf Nurkic as they dominated inside as the Knicks looked exhausted.
The Knicks got no help from Evan Fournier, who was 1 of 13, and Mitchell Robinson had an injury-ravaged nightmare, finishing with two points and no rebounds before leaving with an ankle injury in the third quarter.
Spared at Thursday’s trade deadline because of little interest, Walker put together his second strong game, getting to the rim and lofting in 3-pointers. But Tom Thibodeau benched him down the stretch despite it being Walker’s first double-digit outing since Jan. 18.
Randle continued a Western spree, scoring 28 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists, but it was all for naught. He scored just four points in the fourth quarter.
Rookie shooting guard Quentin Grimes, making his second straight for the injured RJ Barrett, pumped in 20 points, making 5 of 7 3-pointers.