for this game

Roy, Blazers hold off Knicks in fourth

Dec 3, 2008 - 4:53 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Mike D'Antoni was part of the Phoenix Suns when they drafted and traded Rudy Fernandez. On Tuesday, he watched Fernandez bury his new team.

Fernandez hit a pair of key 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter and helped the Portland Trail Blazers pull out a 104-97 victory over D'Antoni and the New York Knicks.

Brandon Roy led Portland with 23 points and Travis Outlaw chipped in 16 as the Trail Blazers outscored the Knicks, 33-22, in the fourth.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 17 points, Steve Blake contributed 15 and Joel Przybilla grabbed 14 rebounds as the Trail Blazers matched their best 19-game start since 1999-2000.

While those players helped Portland improve to 13-6 and win its season-high fifth straight game, Fernandez began the process of starting the solid final 12 minutes.

The Blazers scored the first 10 points of the quarter, getting eight points from Fernandez in the first 2:33 to turn a 75-71 deficit into an 81-75 edge.

Drafted and traded by Phoenix in the 2007 draft, Fernandez had a few fans from his native Spain cheering him on and did not disappoint, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and a running layup in the final minute as part of an 18-point night.

"It was really nice," Fernandez said of his burst. "It's very good. I'm very happy."

"I know Rudy wanted to play well in the Garden," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "He was excited the first half and a couple of those shots didn't go in but the second half he stayed with it and knocked down some big threes.

"That group (the bench), he, Sergio and Travis and Joel were the ones that changed the outcome."

Sparked by Fernandez, Portland gradually expanded its lead and went up 94-84 with 3:32 remaining on Przybilla's tip-in.

The Blazers saw their lead cut to five on Quentin Richardson's layup with 2:46 remaining, but Aldridge hit a turnaround jumper and Outlaw nailed a wide-open 3-pointer to help the Blazers regain a 10-point advantage.

Fernandez and Outlaw were part of an impressive night by Portland's bench, which scored 24 points down the stretch and 39 overall. That helped Portland equal its best 19-game start since the 1999-2000 season.

"It took us a while to get going," McMillan said. "What has happened all season long for us, is we've had a couple of guys get going and in the second half, Rudy, Travis - that second unit and Sergio got momentum going, and we were able to get the lead and just go from there."

"The bench stepped up tonight," Roy said. "They were huge for us and got us a lead. The starters came back and closed it out."

After scoring 82 points in the first half en route to a season-high 138 Saturday against Golden State, the Knicks shot 41 percent (32-of-78) and lost for the third time in four games.

Chris Duhon played another solid game as he collected 23 points and 13 assists while David Lee added 19 and 12 rebounds for New York, which played its first game since ordering embattled guard Stephon Marbury to stay away from the team.

For the fifth straight game, New York played fewer than nine players. That forced Duhon to play over 40 minutes for the sixth consecutive game as the Knicks played without Nate Robinson and Cuttino Mobley.

"The guys that were playing well I think ran out of steam," D'Antoni said. "To be able to beat a team like this, we had to almost have five or six guys running all cylinders. We just didn't have it tonight."

That led to fatigue in the final quarter as the Knicks missed 10 of their first 12 shots while Duhon went scoreless on 0-of-3 shooting.

"Coach said they were wearing down, 'Let's keep trying to push it out on them,'" Roy said. "Duhon, he played great tonight. They had a number of guys who played hard but in that fourth quarter you can see that our depth kind of outlasted them."

Besides getting tired down the stretch, New York had a rough night on the glass. The Knicks were outrebounded, 54-36, and gave up 15 offensive rebounds, leading to 12 more shots for Portland.

"I think the fatigue kind of set in," Duhon said. "We have to a better job of rebounding and that was the big difference tonight."

Before tiring, New York built a nine-point lead in the first half before settling for a 51-49 edge at the break on Lee's tip-in at the buzzer. The Knicks overcame a 62-59 deficit and led by as many eight in the third when Duhon scored 13 points.