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
Local

Easter 2014: The year's best bonnets

It's Easter, and that means it's time for Fifth Avenue to turn into a veritable catwalk of bonnet-wearers. The annual march, which kicks off at…

Local

Woman arrested for attempted kidnapping of baby in…

Authorities said that a Queens woman behind an attempted kidnapping of an 8-month-old baby boy was arrested on Saturday.

Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Local

NYPD arrest man after finding body inside plastic…

Police said they found a man stuffed inside a plastic container in a Brooklyn home. Authorities arrested Joshua Simser, 24, in connection to the death

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.