KNICKS 113 JAZZ 84 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
No Carmelo Anthony. No Amar’e Stoudemire. No problem for the Knicks as the team banded together in a resounding 113-84 victory over the Jazz on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Prior to tonight’s game, the team announced that Stoudemire would miss the next six weeks due to a scheduled right knee debridement. The news was alarming, considering Anthony did not suit up for his third straight game with a sore knee as well.
Without their big guns in the lineup, the Knicks responded in a big way behind 24 points from J.R. Smith, Steve Novak’s 20 points, and Raymond Felton’s 15 at the point guard spot.
After Utah started strong and led 11-4, head coach Mike Woodson called for a 20-second timeout and New York quickly fired off an 11-0 run while never looking back in the home win.
The Knicks took advantage of a Jazz team without big man Paul Millsap by attacking the rim and finding outside shooters. In the second quarter, New York blitzed Utah by outscoring the road team 30-17 and the momentum carried over to the third frame where the lead ballooned to 30 points.
Woodson stayed consistent with his starting unit, featuring Felton, Iman Shumpert, James White, Kurt Thomas, and Tyson Chandler. To counter the flurry of injuries, Woodson brought Kenyon Martin off the pine for the first substitute of the first quarter. The head man also leaned on Pablo Prigioni for seven points, five assists, and five rebounds in 23 minutes of action. Martin added 10 points and six rebounds off the bench.
The Knicks defense was on point throughout the game by rotating fast, closing outs on shooters, and they adquately defended a deep Utah frontcourt. The Jazz only shot 39 percent from the floor and committed 20 turnovers in their final contest of a five-game road trip.
New York improved to 38-22 heading into a crucial five-game road trip that begins on Monday night in Golden State.
"Our assignments tonight were pretty much on the money. That’s something that had slipped in the past. We would say we were going to do something and then we don’t do it once we get into the game. A lot of that has to do with not being able to practice. You hope when you’re watching tapes, guys pick it up. But, it’s not the same as doing it live. I thought tonight was focused and committed and I thought defense really won the game for us.” -- Mike Woodson
Knick of the Night:
Following up his 36-point outburst on Thursday night against Oklahoma City, Smith dropped 24 in the win over Utah. The Knicks guard was efficient, hitting 10-of-19 attempts from the floor and 4-of-8 behind the arc. He also grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists in 28 minutes.
The Knicks shot 50 percent from the floor, 41 percent from downtown, and 80 percent at the charity stripe.
New York hits the road for a ten-day, five-game trip on the west coast. The squad will face the Warriors, Nuggets, Blazers, Clippers, and Jazz.