By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Jazz | Quicken Loans Arena
When: Saturday | 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York (23-40): None of the Knicks' starters played a minute in the 4th quarter in last night's convincing 108-81 win over Utah. They started fast in 1st quarter and never looked back as they dished out 24 assists on the night. Led by Carmelo Anthony's 29 points and season-high eight assists and J.R. Smith's five 3-pointers, they picked up a second straight win after losing seven straight. They remain 4.5 games out of the playoffs, but a win tonight would put them in a tie with Cleveland as they battle to get in.
Cleveland (24-39): The Cavs have struggled this season on both ends of the floor, but have won eight of their last 14 as they've wiggled their way back into the playoff picture. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving has improved after starting the season in a horrendous shooting funk, and new additions Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes have helped boost the overall quality of the roster. They come in having lost three straight, however.
The Numbers Game
After tying their season high with 38 points in the 1st quarter on Wednesday, the Knicks set a new high with 39 points last night against Uah.
Matchup to Watch
Raymond Felton vs. Kyrie Irving
Felton scored only two points against the Jazz last night, but his impact as a floor general was evident. He set up his teammates for five assists and finished the night with a positive 20 on/off rating. He'll be tested tonight against Irving, who is back up to 36 percent from downtown after a slow start to the year.
What to Look For
Last night's limited workload should help the Knicks as they look to move to 3-1 with the new starting lineup. Felton and Smith expressed their support for the starting group because of the variety of weapons it features. Now, with Pablo Prigioni and Iman Shumpert coming off the bench, Coach Mike Woodson has some real defenders coming in to keep the pressure on opponents after the Knicks (hopefully) open up a lead. Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler will go up against a strong front line of Hawes and Tristan Thompson, who complement each other nicely. Hawes is shooting over 50 percent from three since coming over from Philadelphia, so New York will have to keep an eye on him around the perimeter.