If the Knicks team that beat the Utah Jazz on Monday night was any older, Walt Frazier would have started at point guard.
But the Jazz had a hard enough time with Kurt Thomas and Jason Kidd.
For the second time in nine days, a short-handed Knicks squad beat the Utah Jazz (34-33), this time 90-83, handing them their ninth loss in 12 games and, most importantly, preventing them from moving into a tie for eighth in the Western Conference playoff chase.
This time, the result was more muddled than the 29-point shellacking the Knicks put on the Jazz on March 9 at Madison Square Garden. Although the Knicks were once again without star Carmelo Anthony, the Jazz couldn’t take advantage of a Knicks frontcourt that outscored them in the paint 34-22, despite the absences of Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. The team’s frontcourt presence was reduced to the likes of Thomas and Marcus Camby.
What, did the Knicks send their alumni team?
“They’re not the quickest and fastest guys anymore,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. “They’re smart and physical and play within the game.”
The Jazz, meanwhile, were able-bodied and healthy. But while they played bad enough to get blown out, the Knicks didn’t play well enough to make the Jazz pay until late in the game.
“You wish you could take advantage of the opportunity,” Marvin Williams lamented.
For much of the first half, the Jazz had more turnovers than made field goals. It wasn’t until Paul Millsap scored with 56.1 seconds left in the half that the number was evened — at 14.
The Knicks had not won since beating the Jazz 113-84 on March 9, losing four straight before the final game of their five-game Western Conference road trip.
Corbin started Gordon Hayward for the second straight game, and the third-year swingman recorded another solid performance, finishing with a team-best 17 points and a career-high 4 blocks.
Knicks guard J.R. Smith led all scorers with 20 points, while starting point guard Raymond Felton added 19.Next Page »