Knicks break losing streak with win in Utah

J.R. Smith couldn't carry the Knicks to a win in Portland. Credit: Getty Images
J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 20 points.
Credit: Getty Images

The Knicks saw the best and worst in what J.R. Smith has to offer this season in Monday night’s 90-83 win over the Jazz.

Smith had about as awful a first half as could be afforded for the shorthanded Knicks (39-26) as he tallied just two points on 1-of-6 shooting. But the second half featured a more composed and under control Smith, as he finished with a game-high 20 points, including a couple of dagger jumpers late to seal Utah’s fate. The mercurial Smith led the Knicks on a crucial 12-1 run in the third quarter to get the win.

The sometimes-erratic shooting guard wasn’t alone in putting forth a great effort, as the undermanned Knicks had arguably their best team effort of the season. Raymond Felton added 19 points; Chris Copeland added 14 points; Jason Kidd stuffed the box sheet with seven points, three rebounds, five assists and a steal; and Kurt Thomas played what might’ve been the gutsiest performance of any Knicks player this season.

The 40-year-old Thomas, who is suffering from a bone spur in his foot, gave the Knicks a valiant effort with six points, three rebounds and three blocks in a season-high 27 minutes. Thomas, the oldest player in the NBA, acknowledged he initially hurt his foot last Thursday in Portland and decided to play through it in Los Angeles on Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI when he gets back to New York on Tuesday.

The Knicks might’ve been severely banged-up sans Carmelo Anthony (knee) and Tyson Chandler (neck), but it was the Jazz who were the ones that looked rudderless most of the game. The Jazz are now losers in nine of their last 11 games and helped the Knicks avoid a 0-5 showing on their crucial West Coast swing.

What we learned …

1. No ordinary rookies

Monday night marked the first time in the Knicks’ long and storied history they started two undrafted rookies in the same game. Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland aren’t usual rookies, as the former is 35 and the latter is 29, but their poise and skill set — undoubtedly seasoned by years playing overseas — were great attributes in helping to steady a Knicks squad that was undermanned and spiraling out of control. Prigioni only had three points and three assists, but it was his influence in running the offense that allowed Felton to shift to scoring guard and play off the ball. Copeland added 14 points (11 in the first half) and six rebounds in his second-consecutive solid outing.

2. Painting the interior

The Knicks have been undersized all season, even when their bigs were healthy, so it’s almost inconceivable to believe they out-produced the much larger Jazz in the post. New York held a 32-20 advantage in points in the paint, as Utah failed to capitalize on their size mismatches at almost every position. Utah’s quartet of bigs — Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter — combined for just 39 points and 31 rebounds.

3. Winning the old-fashioned way

The Knicks didn’t try to outscore the Jazz, as they usually try to do, and instead went retro by simply taking care of the ball and playing stifling defense. New York came into the game leading the league in fewest turnovers per game (12.1) and finished with 12 Monday night. They also forced the Jazz into poor shot selection en route to 38 percent shooting, as no Utah player scored more than 17 points and no one made more than six field goals.

Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…