The New York Knicks got off to a fast start, scoring 40 points in the first quarter, and never looked back, defeating the Utah Jazz 131-109 at Madison Square Garden last night in from of a soldout crowd of 19,763. The Knicks took their first double-digit lead at 18-8 on a jumper by Carmelo Anthony, and led by as many as 19 in the second quarter on a three-pointer from Shawne Williams with 10:48 left. The Knicks would go up by as much as 31 in the third quarter, 87-56 on a lay up and free throw from Amar’e Stoudemire, and Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni would clear the bench in the fourth quarter, as all five starters sat and cheered with the crowd as rookie Andy Rautins saw game action for the first time in nearly five weeks.
“We just really worked on the defensive end and I think it got better” Coach D’Antoni said after the game. Stoudemire talked defense as well. “I think defensively it is coming together. We have been talking about different defensive schemes and I think it is coming together for us.”
Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin was extremely disappointed with his team’s effort. “As individuals, and a group of guys, and as a franchise, that’s embarrassing the way we came out tonight. Everybody that puts on a uniform should have at least played hard, played with some kind of pride and we didn’t do that tonight.” One of the few bright spots for the Jazz was the play of Derrick Favors. “Derrick is coming along. He’s playing hard and he’s trying to figure out where he is, what his team is and how to be effective on it.” Al Jefferson was also very critical. “We don’t look like a team trying to make the playoffs, I know that. We didn’t play like we wanted to win. And when I’m saying we and I mean everyone, even myself. The effort just wasn’t there. I don’t feel good about what happened in this game, we were embarrassed.”
Anthony led the Knicks with 34 points on 12-16 shooting and 5 assists, while Stoudemire finished with 31 points on 12-15 from the field. Toney Douglas scored 20 points and dished out 6 assists, and Shelden Williams came off the bench to score 13 points, dish out a career-high 6 assists and pull down 5 rebounds.
Jefferson led the Jazz with 36 points, and rookie Derrick Favors scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds off the bench. CJ Miles scored 12 points on only 3-14 shooting, and rookie Gordon Hayward scored 11 points, both also off the bench.
The Knicks play the Grizzles in Memphis tomorrow at 8pm.