NEW YORK — The New York Knicks have had a rough season, but the Utah Jazz's opponents are dealing with heavier issues than just basketball right now..
Knicks big man Amar'e Stoudemire left the team to be with his family in Florida after his brother died in an automobile accident overnight.
Stoudemire will not play against the Jazz in the 5:30 MT tipoff (NBA-TV/ROOT).
"It's unfortunate to hear about his brother," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "It's tough. I just feel for him. I'm praying for his family."
Jared Jeffries is expected to fill in for Stoudemire, and it's possible Jeremy Lin could get a start as well. The Harvard guard lit up New Jersey for 25 points Saturday when the surprisingly struggling Knicks (9-15) picked up a rare win — just their third in 14 games.
The Jazz (13-9) come into this Madison Square Garden match-up having picked up a big 96-87 win at home against the Lakers on Saturday. Corbin expects a full squad to be available tonight, including guards Devin Harris, Raja Bell and Earl Watson, all coming off of recent injuries.
"Everybody (was) in shootaround, going and moving around pretty well," Corbin said.
In Stoudemire's absence, Corbin expects small forward Carmelo Anthony will play a bigger role against the Jazz, perhaps even playing some power forward.
But, he added, the Jazz need to focus on their game first.
"We'll continue to build who we are," Corbin said. "We've got to create a tempo that's favorable to us."
Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward, who returns to his Indiana roots with the Jazz on Tuesday, smiled talking about the opportunity to play in this famous spot.2 comments on this story
"Anytime you get to play here," Hayward said, "whether it's college or NBA — (it's) the world's most famous arena, so it's always a good time."
Today's game kicks off a stretch in which 22 of 33 games are on the road for the Jazz, including 13 of the next 18.