It was an unhappy March for the Jazz.
Heading into Monday night’s game against New York, Utah’s record for the month was 2-14.
The Jazz’s only wins came over NBA bottom-feeders Philadelphia and Orlando. Among the losses: a 26-pointer at Milwaukee, which owns the worst record in the league.
“It was pretty taxing,” said coach Tyrone Corbin. “Not only the schedule, but the teams and what they are playing for.
The Jazz played 12 opponents currently in the playoffs or battling for a postseason berth, including two against the Knicks.
Utah’s biggest problems were slow starts and poor shooting.
The Jazz scored 30 points in the first quarter only once. In a four-game stretch, they failed to score more than 96 points and made only 25 of 85 3-point shots. Not including Richard Jefferson, they were 8-for-50 on threes.
Corbin’s goal against the Knicks?
“We’ve got to get off to a better start,” he said.
In a 24-hour span, the Jazz faced top two scorers in the NBA.
Before trying to slow New York’s Carmelo Anthony at EnergySolutions Arena, Kevin Durant dropped 31 points on Utah during Oklahoma City’s 116-96 win Sunday.
Said Corbin: “Guys like Durant, guys like Carmelo, guys like LeBron [James], they make you do things a little different because they can go for a big number on you very easily. ... Those guys create situations where you have to do things out of the norm.”
Against prolific scorers like Durant and Anthony, Corbin tries to mix defenses and change schemes.
It can be a challenge for an inexperienced team like the Jazz.
“Older teams, you can just say it and they understand the personnel — why you’re doing it,” Corbin said. “Young teams, it takes a little time to do it.
The Knicks played without veteran Amar’e Stoudemire, who was given a “maintenance day” by coach Mike Woodson.
Stoudemire is playing his 12th season in the NBA. He has a history of back and knee injuries.
“You’d like to have him for every game because he’s playing so well,” Woodson said. “ But we’ve benefitted from [resting him] ... so somebody else has to step up and play.”
Stoudemire averages 9.1 points and 9.9 rebounds. He played at least 27 minutes in five games preceding New York’s visit to Utah, including 31 in Sunday night’s 89-84 win at Golden State.
“We just have to protect him,” Woodson said. “... Amar’e has had a lot of bounce to his game. We just have to keep him in a good place. We don’t want any setbacks. He was a little sore and needed to back off.”