KNICKS 90 JAZZ 83 | ENERGY SOLUTIONS ARENA
How it happened:
Beset by injuries, the severely shorthanded Knicks finally broke through the brick wall and notched their first win of the 5-game grueling road trip.
New York finished strong in the final stanza to upend the Jazz 90-83 in Utah on Monday night.
The team banded together in the start of the third quarter when Pablo Prigioni found Kenyon Martin for the dunk to jumpstart the second half. At that point, New York tied the game at 44-44.
During the third period, Utah rattled off an 8-0 run to take a 54-50 lead midway through the quarter but the Knicks remained composed despite missing Carmelo Anthony (knee) and Tyson Chandler (neck) for the third straight game.
The Knicks ended the third period strong after Raymond Felton hit a nice floater to provide a 66-63 advantage back to the road team heading into the fourth. Felton finished with 18 points in the victory.
Once again, Felton put together key baskets late in the game when he tossed a beautiful floater off glass and then drilled a crucial 3-pointer at the 7:58 mark of the fourth quarter. Felton’s deep shot helped New York gain some separation with a 75-69 lead.
Down the stretch, Mike Woodson used a lineup featuring Felton, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Kurt Thomas, and Jason Kidd. Thomas was instrumental by defending the Bigs for Utah and setting up his teammates with his patent screens on the perimeter. He also inspired his teammates by playing 26 minutes with a bone spur in his foot.
As Utah made one last late push to steal the win over a New York team on a back-to-back, Smith buried a step-back jumper on the left side, increasing the lead to five points. Smith finished with a team-high 20 points.
As opposed to some of the previous games on the road trip, the Knicks managed to shoot the ball at a solid clip. New York connected on 46 percent from the floor, 35 percent behind the arc, and hit 18-of-25 shots at the charity strip.
Chris Copeland earned the starting nod and scored 14 points in the win.
The victory for the Knicks was especially important considering the Nets won tonight as well. New York improved to 39-26 on the season and still own a one game lead on Brooklyn in the race for the Atlantic Division crown.
"The job he did on the defensive end & makes shots. That's a pure warrior right there." -- Smith on Thomas
Knick of the Night:
Yes, Felton and Smith were the top scorers but the play of Thomas was truly incredible. The 40-year old logged 26 minutes and swatted three shots. Thomas’ box score totals are not indicative of how important his role was in the road victory tonight in Utah.
New York forced 17 turnovers from the Jazz and limited them to just 38 percent shooting from the floor.
After a long 5-game road trip that lasted 10 days out West, the Knicks finally return home to New York and will face the Magic at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.