NEW YORK — The New York Knicks won their second straight game for only the second time in five weeks, turning back the Utah Jazz 108-81 Friday at Madison Square Garden.
New York (23-40) last won back-to-games Jan. 28 and 30 when it defeated Boston and Cleveland, respectively. The Knicks knocked off Minnesota on Wednesday.
The one-sided romp against the Jazz was the Knicks seventh win by over 20 points this season. With three games in the next five days, the Knicks were able to rest their starters in the fourth quarter.
Forward Carmelo Anthony paced the Knicks with 29 points and a season-high eight assists. Shooting guard J.R. Smith added 17 points and center Tyson Chandler recorded 16 points and 11 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season.
Guards Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks led the Jazz (21-41) with 18 points apiece. Utah dropped its fifth straight game, all on the road. One of the lowest scoring teams in the league, it failed to score at least 100 points for the 43d time this season. It concludes the six-game journey Saturday at Philadelphia.
The Knicks, still clinging to the prospect of making the playoffs despite being 5 1/2 games behind Atlanta for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference as play began Friday, were in command for most of the game. They held a double-digit lead in the second half with a blend of long-range shooting and interior superiority.
The Knicks front line of Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Chandler combined for 55 points and 16 rebounds. The 7-foot-1 Chandler was no match for Utah centers Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, scoring at will off the pick-and-roll.
New York took a 24-point advantage, 84-60, into the fourth quarter.
The closest Utah was able to get in the second quarter was 10 points at 43-33 with 8:08 left, but New York went on a 9-0 run to move ahead 52-33. Chandler dropped in six points and Anthony scored four points in the quarter.
Anthony poured in 18 points in the first quarter to lead the Knicks to a 39-22 advantage. He nailed 3 of his 5 shots from beyond the arc and scored the Knicks final 11 points of the quarter.
NOTES: Toronto G Terrence Ross (sprained left ankle) returned to the starting lineup after missing Sunday’s win over Golden State. … Kings coach Michael Malone’s father, Brendan, coached the Raptors to a 21-61 record in their inaugural season (1995-96). … In addition to F Rudy Gay, Sacramento received F Quincy Acy and F Aaron Gray in exchange for G Greivis Vasquez, F John Salmons, F Patrick Patterson and C Chuck Hayes in a Dec. 9 trade. … Toronto is averaging 101.5 points per game since the trade after averaging 97.3 in 18 games with Gay.
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