Forward Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and the Knicks wrapped
up their five-game Western Conference road trip Monday with a
runaway 92-83 win over the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.
Atlanta held off Philadelphia at home Monday to improve to 32-41 to
snap a six-game losing streak and maintain a one-game lead over the
Knicks (32-43) for the East's final playoff spot.
"This was a very important win for us tonight," Anthony said after
hitting 11 of 17 shots, including four of seven 3-pointers. "Just to
bounce back from (Sunday) night and to gain some momentum and build
on that momentum, and build on that win (against Golden State).
Cause if we didn't come here tonight, then yesterday wouldn't even
(have) mattered. ... It was a big win for us to finish our road trip
off 3-2. We will take that any time."
During a playoff hunt makes it all the sweeter.
The Knicks fell behind by 10 points in the first half and trailed
49-48 at halftime, going into the break riding high after a
last-second fading 3-pointer by JR Smith. New York, which played
much more motivated than the home team after halftime, dominated the
second half, outscoring the Jazz 31-20 in the third quarter and then
holding Utah to 14 points in the final period.
"We played another solid defensive game, which when you're out on
the road, that's where you win most of your games is with defense,"
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "We didn't shoot it too particularly
well tonight, but our defense held in there and Melo refused to let
Center Tyson Chandler also scored 15 points with nine rebounds for
New York, while guard JR Smith finished with 13 points. The Knicks
played without Stoudemire, who was given the night off to rest.
Guards Gordon Hayward (18 points) and Alec Burks (17 points) led
Utah offensively, but the Jazz shot just 38.8 percent while losing
for the fifth straight time overall and the sixth consecutive time
to New York.
Utah fell to 23-52, staying tied for a franchise low in wins, and
has lost 16 of 18 games.
"It's a little discouraging, but you can't allow yourself to get
discouraged," Jazz point guard Trey Burke said after only scoring
five points with three assists. "You've just got to play through it.
As simple as it is, you've got to keep playing."
Smith, guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and Anthony hit consecutive 3-pointers
during an 11-0 spurt in the third quarter that helped the Knicks
turn a three-point deficit into a 63-55 lead with 8:02 remaining in
the third quarter.
New York then finished the quarter on a 12-2 run to take the lead
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"That was the difference in the game," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin
said. "They got eight free throws in that stretch and we turned the
ball over a few times, and this has happened to us the last few
games. We hit that little lull where we just can't score and that is
the difference in the game."
Both teams were playing on the second night of back-to-backs and
traveled to Utah after Sunday's games. The Knicks upset the Warriors
89-84 in Oakland, while the Jazz were trounced 116-96 by the Thunder
in Oklahoma City in the afternoon.
The Knicks return home from this tiring Western trip for a borough
battle against Brooklyn on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
The Jazz, who played 17 games in a busy March, have three days off
before hosting New Orleans on Friday.
Hardaway Jr. limped off the court with help after spraining his
right ankle with 17.7 seconds remaining. He scored 10 points,
including a highlight-reel dunk.
Center Derrick Favors contributed his 23rd double-double of 13
points and 13 rebounds for Utah.
NOTES: Knicks PF Amar'e Stoudemire was given the night off Monday,
but there were conflicting versions of why the big man did not play.
New York coach Mike Woodson said before the game that it was because
of a "maintenance day" and that Stoudemire could use some rest after
playing four games in six days. Stoudemire said he wasn't sore and
felt "dominant" but this day off was planned beforehand, according
to the New York Times. ... The Knicks improved to 2-32 when trailing
at halftime. ... This was the 17th of 18 back-to-backs for New York.
The Knicks end the regular season with a game at Brooklyn (April 15)
followed by a home contest vs. Toronto the next night. ... Jazz
coach Tyrone Corbin on the much-improved Knicks: "If they get into
the playoffs, this team can be dangerous. We understand they're
coming out and they're fighting for their playoff lives. The year
that they've had up to this point doesn't really indicate how
they're playing now, because they're playing very well."
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