New York – A day after dismantling the Atlanta Hawks, the Chauncey Billups-less New York Knicks traveled back to Madison Square Garden to take on the Utah Jazz. The Knicks scored a season-high 131 points on the way to blowing out the Jazz 131-109.
The Knicks made quick work of their opponent and were never really threatened as the Jazz managed to hold their only lead of the game for only one minute and 10 seconds early in the first quarter.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 34 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the field, and four for five from beyond the arc, as well as three rebounds, five assists and a steal. Amar’e Stoudemire wasn’t far behind with 31 points of his own. He shot 12-of-15 from the field with four rebounds and four blocks. The Jazz were led by the game-high 36 points and 12 rebounds from Al Jefferson and 16 points and eight rebounds from rookie Derrick Favors.
The first five minutes of the first quarter were the most competitive with three lead changes. After the Knicks won the opening tip-off, Landry Fields drew a foul and then sank two free-throws to give the Knicks their first lead of the game 2-0. Seventeen seconds later Al Jefferson evened the score at 2-2.
After Devin Harris drew an offensive foul and Andrei Kirilenko put up a layup, the Jazz took their first lead of the game 4-2. A Toney Douglas three-pointer brought the lead back to New York at 5-4. At the 10:18 mark, an Al Jefferson layup put the Jazz up 6-5, their final lead of the game.
Anthony’s first two points of the came from the charity stripe after a Paul Millsap foul. A Jefferson jumper brought the Jazz to within one, but that would be the closest they'd come the rest of the way. The next two points came from Amar’e Stoudemire 19-footer, on an Anthony assist, then Anthony himself drove in for a layup.
With the Knicks leading 18-10, they went on a 20-10 run with Stoudemire scoring eight of the 18 points and Anthony adding five. The first quarter came to a close with the Knicks leading the Jazz 40 - 24.
The Jazz played a more respectable game in the second quarter, but that wasn't reflected by the 66-48 score at half-time. Whether that was the result of trying to incorporate Harris and Derrick Favors into their offense and/or playing with a new head coach in Tyrone Corbin (2-8 as head coach), the team is simply not playing the way it had been under Jerry Sloan.
Stoudemire and Anthony highlighted the third quarter by scoring 27 of the Knicks' 36 points (14 and 13 points, respectively).
The fourth quarter was basically 12 minutes of garbage time. It was then that the Knicks fans started chanting the names of their team’s bench players—none getting more cheers than Andy Rautins’ lone make on a 19-footer from Shelden Williams.
With the win, the Knicks edge closer to the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Jazz, on the other hand, lost ground in their pursuit of the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff standings.