Utah Jazz: Short-handed Knicks beat Jazz
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.
Hayward scored 8 points in the third quarter, and the Jazz led by as many as six points in the period, however, they were outscored 24-20 in the fourth and could not get closer than 3.
Mo Williams missed a 3-pointer with 47.8 seconds left that would have cut New York's lead to 86-84, and the Knicks were content to hold the ball and force the Jazz to foul.
While Hayward played well, and Williams had one of his most balanced games since returning from thumb surgery 9 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 turnovers the Jazz also endured dreadful offensive nights from Al Jefferson and Millsap. The two anchors of the Jazz frontcourt combined for just 22 points on 8 of 22 shooting.
Jefferson, who added 11 rebounds, left an awkward and quiet Jazz locker room without taking any questions from the media, despite recording his 30th double-double of the season.
Marvin Williams placed the blame for the result not on the Jazz's inside game, but the one on the perimeter. He said Jefferson and Millsap did a good job of passing out of double teams and finding open shooters who couldn't hold up their end of the deal.
The Jazz shot 9 of 19 from 3, but just 29 of 76 (38.2 percent) overall.
With the loss, the Jazz failed to pick up a game on the Los Angeles Lakers, who were blown out in Phoenix without Kobe Bryant.
In order to reach the postseason, the Jazz know they need to take care of business at home and steal a few games on the road.
They play four of their next six games on the road, including a three-game road trip that starts Wednesday at Houston. The Jazz have won just 10 times away from EnergySolutions Arena, and lost previous games in Houston and San Antonio in November.
Storylines Knicks 90, Jazz 83
R The Jazz lose for the ninth time in 12 games and the second time to the Knicks.
• The Knicks played without injured forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.