The Portland Trail Blazers topped the New York Knicks 105-100, withstanding a high-scoring, efficient performance by Carmelo Anthony to spoil Amar'e Stoudemire's season debut.
The Trail Blazers' balanced attack proved superior to a Knicks offense that relied too heavily on Anthony, who scored 45 points on 14-of-24 shooting from the field, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range and 12-of-14 from the free-throw line.
Nicolas Batum scored 26 to lead the way for the Blazers Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, while star rookie point guard Damian Lillard contributed 21 points, six assists and five rebounds.
The Blazers capitalized on poor 3-point shooting by the Knicks to build a 19-point lead with just a few minutes remaining before halftime.
The Knicks cut that lead to 11 at the intermission and seven at the start of the third quarter. They eventually reduced the margin to three in the waning moments of the game, but a clutch 3-pointer by Lillard in the final minute virtually sealed the victory.
Off nights by the normally reliable 3-point-shooting duo of Jason Kidd and Steve Novak cost the Knicks dearly. For the night, those two players - among the league leaders in that category - were a combined 0-of-8 from behind the arc.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 19 points and had a big night on the boards for the Blazers with 14 rebounds. J.J. Hickson also was a major contributor for Portland with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Stoudemire received a huge ovation from the New York crowd when he made his season debut in the first half, but the rust on his game was evident after missing all of November and December due to a knee injury.
The power forward scored six points and grabbed just one rebound in limited action.
Five other games were played Tuesday night around the NBA.
The Los Angeles Lakers' struggles continued in a 103-99 loss at home to the Philadelphia 76ers, whose youth and energy won out over their opponents' star power.
Kobe Bryant had another big scoring night for the Lakers with 36 points, but Dwight Howard - the team's main acquisition in the offseason - had a night to forget with just seven points on 1-of-7 shooting.
Jrue Holiday led the way for the 76ers with 26 points and 10 assists.
In other action, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Washington Wizards 103-94, the Detroit Pistons held off the Sacramento Kings 103-97 and the Atlanta Hawks topped the New Orleans Hornets 95-86.
The Los Angeles Clippers, meanwhile, saw their franchise-record, 17-game winning streak come to an end in a 92-78 road loss to the Denver Nuggets. EFE