What 2 Watch 4 - Trail Blazers Vs. Knicks
Mo Williams vs. J.R. Smith
We look to the benches in our What 2 Watch 4 for tonight's nationally televised game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Portland's bench was outscored 26-6 during Monday night's loss to the Wizards, though the lack of scoring from the reserve unit was in no way the only reason the Trail Blazers lost their 14th game of the season and their fourth-straight on the road. And while more scoring would be nice, Mo Williams, the leader of Portland's second unit, is averaging 4.7 assists per game, which is the highest mark in the NBA among players coming off the bench. If he's setting up his teammates, be they starters or not, at a steady clip, the chances that the Trail Blazers come away with a victory in the Big Apple improve dramatically.
And after all, you need look no further than New York's J.R. Smith to realize that scoring off the bench is no guarantee of success. Smith scored 30 points on nine of 17 shooting off the bench during the Knicks' 101-98 loss to the Bucks in Milwaukee on Monday. In fact, his four-highest scoring outputs off the bench this season all came in losses, proving that shooting off the bench isn't always a harbinger of success.
• Leads the NBA in assists off the bench with 4.7 per game
• Is 14th in the NBA in three-pointers attempted off the bench with 142
• Is tied for ninth in field goals attempted off the bench with 421
• Is first in minutes off the bench (minimum 10 games off the bench) at 30.8 per game
• Ranks ninth in three-pointers attempted off the bench with 157
• Has come off the bench in 30 of New York's 41 games this season a season after being named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year