Knicks 90, Jazz 83
SALT LAKE CITY -- J.R. Smith scored 20 points and Raymond Felton added 19 as the short-handed New York Knicks finished a rough road trip Monday night with a 90-83 victory over the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.
Smith hit a key jumper with 2:36 remaining to end a late Utah run and help the Knicks halt their four-game losing streak.
New York improved to 39-26 after falling at Golden State, Denver, Portland and in Los Angeles to the Clippers.
Gordon Hayward, starting for the second game in a row, led Utah with 17 points.
But the Jazz (34-33) only shot 38.9 percent from the field as a team and scored just 39 points in the fourth quarter despite going against a squad playing without three of its top players. Utah missed nine of its last 10 shots while blowing an opportunity to sustain momentum gained with a big win over Memphis.
The Knicks were vastly outmanned as they wrapped up their trip. It was known going into the game that center Amar'e Stoudemire wouldn't play because of his knee issue, which will keep him out for six weeks.
But New York also played without Carmelo Anthony (knee) and Tyson Chandler (knee/neck).
Chandler reportedly will undergo an MRI on his ailing neck Tuesday in New York, according to ESPN.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson wouldn't confirm the MRI but acknowledged that Chandler's neck will be evaluated upon the Knicks' return.
"I'm not a doctor. I know it's not well enough for him to play," Woodson said. "Obviously, it's bothering him. We've got to probably get him examined when we get back. I don't know. We'll play that by ear as we head up the road."
Jazz big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap combined to score 24 points on 8-of-22 shooting from the field while being bothered by New York's frontcourt of Kenyon Martin, Chris Copeland and Kurt Thomas.
The Knicks were outrebounded 46-34 but outscored the Jazz 34-22 in the paint.
New York jumped out to a 17-12 lead. Hayward hit a 3-pointer and a jumper to help Utah take a 20-19 edge before the Knicks bounced back to regain a 23-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Jazz finished the first half on a tear. Mo Williams' buzzer-beating jumper capped an 8-0 run before the break, giving Utah a 44-42 halftime lead.
The teams exchanged runs in the third quarter.
New York took charge out of the locker room, going ahead 50-46 after a Copeland layup.
The Jazz called a timeout and then responded with back-to-back Hayward 3-pointers to begin a 14-4 spurt for a 60-54 lead.
But the pendulum then swung in New York's favor as Smith scored six points in a 10-0 Knicks surge that resulted in a 66-63 lead after three quarters for the visitors.
Thomas and Felton helped New York build that into an 84-76 advantage with 4:31 to go after the point guard and the 40-year-old big man hit consecutive jumpers.
Utah quickly trimmed that lead to three with a 3-pointer and inside bucket by Mo Williams, but that was as close as the Jazz got down the stretch.
The usually reliable Jazz bench didn't offer nearly as much punch as the Knicks, who had the big night from Smith. Center Enes Kanter was the only Jazz reserve in double digits with 10 points. Derrick Favors had a game-high 13 rebounds but made only 1 of 7 shots from the field for seven points.
The Knicks return home for a game Wednesday against Orlando, and Utah heads out on a three-game road trip in Texas.
Utah is clinging to playoff hopes after stumbling through a recent stretch in which the Jazz lost eight of 10 games, falling from No. 7 in the West to the ninth spot behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
New York, meanwhile, had lost four road games since pummeling Utah 113-94 on March 9 at Madison Square Garden.
NOTES: The college teams of eight Jazz players are participating in the NCAA Tournament, but nobody has more bragging rights when it comes to March Madness than Utah small forward Marvin Williams. He hit a key bucket in North Carolina's 75-70 win over Illinois in the 2005 NCAA championship game. "Yeah, I don't think anybody will say anything to me because they know I have that in my back pocket," Williams said. "I might come in and wear one of my rings." ... Felton was Williams' teammate on that title-winning Tar Heels team. ... Thomas had an X-ray taken of his right foot before Monday's game that revealed a bone spur. He'll have a follow-up MRI on Tuesday. ... Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin was the manager of player development in New York for the 2003-04 season.
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