PORTLAND, Ore. — Wesley Matthews got a chance to practice his bow-and-arrow 3-point celebration on Dec. 28.
Matthews made six 3-pointers and finished with 28 points, leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a 101-79 victory over the short-handed New York Knicks.
Matthews, around when the Blazers perfected the so-called “3 Goggles” some four years ago, and then toyed with the “3 Holster” gesture, now punctuates his 3-pointers by shooing an imaginary arrow.
Matthews, who leads the NBA with 106 3-pointers this season, made five 3s in the first half against the Knicks. Teammate Nicolas Batum had five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.
The Blazers went 16 for 36 from long range on the night. They have made at least 10 3s in five of their last six games.
“It’s contagious. It was just a good vibe from the jump,” Matthews said. “I think I missed the first one, but then Nic hit one, Damian (Lillard) hit one and I think the floodgates really opened.”
It was the eighth straight loss for the Knicks, who had just nine available players to start the game, and then lost Carmelo Anthony for the second half because of a sore left knee.
Cole Aldrich had 12 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for New York, and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points.
Portland, which led by as many as 27 points, has won eight of its last nine games. The Blazers are 25-7 and have the most wins in the NBA.
But Portland was again without All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, who has missed three of the last four games with an upper respiratory illness, including the Blazers’ 114-93 victory over Philadelphia on Dec. 26.
The Knicks were without J.R. Smith, who is having ongoing issues with his left heel. Samuel Dalembert was sidelined by a sprained right ankle, and Amare Stoudemire missed the game with a sore right knee.
To make matters worse, Anthony, who missed two games earlier this season because of his knee, did not return for the second half. Anthony had 36 points in a 135-129 overtime loss at Sacramento on Dec. 27.
The high-scoring forward had 13 points in the first half, but grimaced at times in pain.
“Tonight it feels like fatigue, and not getting a chance to recover from last night,” Anthony said. “I felt this before the game, but I looked around the locker room and we have seven or eight guys ready to go — I really didn’t have a choice but to go out there and attempt to play and see how much I could take.”
Batum hit a 3 to extend Portland’s lead to 50-32 in the second. At that moment of the game, 30 of Portland’s points were from 3-pointers by either Matthews or Batum.
(ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports Writer)