Things change quickly in the NBA. One week ago, the Utah Jazz were in the midst of a fairly successful spell that saw them winning five out of eight games. Thanks to a 108-81 blowout at the hands of the struggling New York Knicks, they are now losers of five consecutive games.
Friday’s bout between the Jazz and the Knicks featured two teams going through some very rough patches. New York had lost 13 of its last 16 games, while Utah had dropped the first four outings on its current six-game Eastern Conference road trip. At least for one evening, the Knicks changed their fortunes.
With a gradually digressing defense, the Jazz had no answers to New York’s offensive explosion early on and could never get within striking distance after that. The Knicks pounced on their opponents with a scintillating 39-point first quarter, making 14 of their first 20 shots. New York ended up winning each of the game’s quarters, giving Utah yet another humbling lesson.
The Jazz will finish their less than ideal road excursion Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Starters set tone: New York’s starters came out with a lot of energy and an obvious chip on their shoulders. And they seemingly took out their mounting frustrations on their counterparts. Led by All-Star Carmelo Anthony with 29 points and eight assists, the Knicks’ opening five dominated.
Anthony was very aggressive and scored on a full repertoire of offensive moves. Tyson Chandler was formidable inside and played solid defense throughout. He tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds. The mercurial J.R. Smith was relatively in control as he drilled five 3-pointers en route to 17 points in just 24 minutes. Lastly, forward Amar’e Stoudamire has lost a lot of steam, but managed to chip in 10 points.
When it was said and done, New York’s starters outscored Utah’s 74-45. All five had +/- marks of +16 or better and conversely, Utah’s quintet was -12 or worse.
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• Forward Marvin Williams’ slump continued as he shot just 1-of-7 and missed all five of his attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. He is averaging just 5.0 points per game on 28.6 percent shooting on this road trip.
• Utah had 19 turnovers compared to just 13 collective assists. New York had 24 dimes and just seven miscues — a 3.43 assist/turnover ratio.
• Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward both hit 6-of-8 shots and had 18 points apiece.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.