Depleted Knicks roar past Jazz, 113-84
Updated: 2013-03-10 16:48
By Yan Weijue in New York (chinadaily.com.cn)
Thanks to a strong performance by their second unit, the New York Knicks walloped the visiting Utah Jazz 113-84 at Madison Square Garden Saturday night.
The Knicks announced prior to game that power forward Amare Stoudemire will undergo right knee surgery and is expected to miss six weeks, adding to the franchise's list of woes. Marquee player Carmelo Anthony was out for a third straight game due to a sore knee.
New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith (C) stuffs the ball against the Utah Jazz in the second quarter of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, March 9, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
But even the Knicks' supporting cast was too much for the visiting team to handle.
JR Smith notched up a game-high 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting for the Knicks. Steve Novak hit five 3-pointers to chip in 20 points. Their second unit outscored that of the Jazz 72-56.
"We are a team, and that's the biggest thing," said Knicks point guard Jason Kidd. "We heard the news about Amare today; we'd love to take him back. But we still have a job to do. The other guys stepped up and did it tonight."
Mike Woodson, the Knicks' head coach, gave credit to the collective defense effort as the Jazz were held to 84 points, 14.5 points less than their season average. They shot 38.5 percent from the field compared with the Knicks' 50.7 percent.
"It was a total team effort defensively right from the beginning," said Woodson. "We got out to a semi-slow start but our defense was still solid. We didn't make shots in the early first two, three minutes, but defensively we just scraped and scratched."
The Jazz started the game with an 11-4 run. The Knicks then scored 15 straight points to build on a comfortable lead that the Jazz were never able to catch.
Without Anthony, JR Smith has been carrying the Knicks' offensive load. The quickness of the swingman proved too much for the big, slow Jazz defenders. Smith averaged nearly 27 points in the past three games.
The Knicks extended the lead in the second quarter, outscoring the Jazz 30-17. Steve Novak hit three 3-pointers during the quarter, and Tyson Chandler's dunk put the Knicks up by 17 at half time.
The Jazz continued struggling on both ends of the floor in the second half. Iman Shumpert made a pair of free throws with 4:15 left in the third quarter to extend the lead to 30, basically putting the game out of sight.
Alec Burks scored a team-high 14 points for the Jazz. Gordon Hayward added 13 points and 5 rebounds.
The Jazz, who have lost seven of their last eight games, are tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth spot in the Western Conference. The Knicks, on the other hand, are tied with the Indiana Pacers for second place in the East.