Trail Blazers
120 - 114 Final - OT
  for this game

Blazers overcome huge game from Robinson

Mar 9, 2008 - 7:06 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- While the Portland Trail Blazers may fall short of a postseason berth, they ensured one sign of improvement will be met.

Brandon Roy scored 27 points as the Trail Blazers surpassed their win total from last season with a 120-114 overtime victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points for Portland (33-30), which bested its 32-win total from last season but still finds itself 6 1/2 games behind eighth-place Golden State (39-23) in the loaded Western Conference.

"That's good; we talked about our direction in Portland," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "This year was all about developing and building and seeing what we have in uniform and building off of that. This team is one game right now better than they were last year."

"It just says that we're moving in the right direction," Roy added. "I think when we lost (No. 1 overall pick) Greg Oden, a lot of people said this is not going to be a very successful season but we got a bunch of young guys that came together and stepped up.

"We got a number of guys that stepped up this season and we're fortunate enough to pass our win total from last year with six weeks left to go."

The Blazers also posted consecutive road wins for the first time since winning six in a row from December 2-January 3, overcoming Knicks guard Nate Robinson's career-high 45 points. Robinson joined Calvin Murphy as the second player in NBA history listed at 5-9 or shorter to score at least that many points.

"Coach (Isiah Thomas) just said, 'Be aggressive and get everyone involved,'" Robinson said. "He said to let the game come to me, and I guess my game was on tonight. It is too bad because we lost."

Before Portland could pull out the win, it had to figure out a way to stop Robinson. Robinson tied the game at 108-108 when his layup spun around the basket before going in with two seconds left.

"Nate was unbelievable," McMillan said. "(Our) defense worked some, but it was an incredible game by him."

That would be the last time the game was deadlocked as Portland took command in the extra session. Roy and Aldridge combined to score all 12 points while Robinson missed two of his three shots and his teammates missed six of their eight shots.

"We didn't want him to have a night like he did tonight," said Roy, who was Robinson's former college teammate at Washington. "But hey, we got the win. So, I got the overall bragging rights."

Once overtime started, Roy put Portland in front with back-to-back jumpers. Aldridge added a six-foot turnaround and clinched the win with a dunk at the 2:35 mark.

The Knicks already had been without point guard Stephon Marbury for the season and former Blazer Zach Randolph (right foot) for the last five games. New York played without guard Jamal Crawford (bruised right hand) and center Eddy Curry (sore right knee) on Saturday.

Robinson's 30-point effort over the third and fourth quarter spearheaded the Knicks' ability to overcome an early 14-point deficit and a five-point gap in the final two minutes of the final.

"I thought our team fought hard," Thomas said. "We were very undermanned tonight. Portland played a great basketball game. I can't complain about anything that our guys didn't do."

In regulation, Portland appeared to finally seal matters when Steve Blake hit a 3-pointer for a 103-98 edge.

The Knicks came right back as Robinson hit a running jumper while Roy missed a layup and committed a turnover with 61 seconds left, which led to the crowd giving the Knicks a standing ovation.

Robinson missed a chance to put New York in front when he blew a layup with 45.9 seconds left but hit a pair of driving layups in the final 9.3 seconds. Robinson's second clutch basket was set up when James Jones hit 1-of-2 from the foul line with eight seconds left.

Quentin Richardson added 20 points for New York, which lost its sixth straight. Fred Jones added 17 points and Lee collected 14 and 14 rebounds for the Knicks.