The Jazz caught New York at the perfect time.
It didn’t matter.
The shorthanded Knicks, playing their fourth road game in five nights, handed Utah a crippling loss Monday.
J.R. Smith scored 20 points and Raymond Felton added 19 as New York rolled to a 90-83 win at EnergySolutions Arena.
The Knicks played without All-Star Carmelo Anthony and center Tyron Chandler.
New York already was missing Amare Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace, meaning it had 11 players available against Utah. Of the 11, only Smith (16.7) and Felton (14.5) are double-figure scorers this season.
Anthony and Chandler, of course, were the most significant missing links against the Jazz.
Anthony is the NBA’s No. 2 scorer. He averages 27.5 points a game but is sidelined with a sore knee. Chandler is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year who also leads the league in field-goal percentage (.645). He missed the game with a knee contusion.
"We’re shorthanded a little bit," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said before the game. "There’s no doubt about that. But from a coaching standpoint, you want to see if guys who haven’t played much and finally get an opportunity can come in and make plays. To me, that’s what this game is all about."
Woodson started a make-shift lineup of Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert and Pablo Prigioni on the perimeter and Chris Copeland and Kenyon Martin inside Monday.
Asked if he considered starting the high-scoring Smith, Woodson shook his head.
"I’m in a good place with J.R. right now," he said. "I think J.R. has done a great job of coming off the bench for us, so we’ll keep him in that position. He’s still going to play a lot of minutes."
Meanwhile, the Jazz entered the game hoping to avenge a 113-84 loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden just nine days ago.
New York played without Anthony, Stoudemire and Walllace, but Smith scored 24 points and Steve Novak added 20.
"I don’t know what you are talking about," Jazz center Al Jefferson said, pretending not to remember the rout. "We got games coming now that mean everything [and] ain’t got time to worry about what [already] happened. But it was a blowout."
Said Paul Millsap: "We didn’t take anything from that game. We left that game in New York. We’re a different ball team. I feel like we’re a more confident ball team than we were then and we’ve got our fans behind us. That’s going to help us out."
Not enough, however.
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