Jazz squeak past Knicks on road

BY foxsports • November 10, 2009

With games coming at Boston and Cleveland, Utah's road trip is about to get tougher.

At least the Jazz won in New York - which lately has been as tough as any stop for them.

Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko each scored 23 points, and the Jazz won at Madison Square Garden for the first time in more than five years by beating the Knicks 95-93 on Monday night.

Mehmet Okur had the go-ahead basket with 1:16 to play and finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, who opened a difficult four-game swing by winning in New York for the first time since Feb. 20, 2004.

"I don't think I'd won here since I've been in a Jazz uniform," said Boozer, who signed with the Jazz five months after their last victory at MSG. "It's good to get a win here."

Boozer grabbed 14 rebounds, while Deron Williams shot 2 of 10 and was limited to five points but had 16 assists. Utah, which earned its first road victory of the season, visits Boston next and wraps up the trip Saturday night at Cleveland.

Rookie Toney Douglas scored a season-high 21 points for the Knicks, who nearly dug their way out of another huge deficit with a big fourth-quarter rally. But he missed just before the buzzer, sending New York (1-7) to its fourth straight loss.

"Coach is always telling me to shoot the ball during practice and tonight my jumper felt really good," Douglas said. "Whenever I'm on the court I'm trying to do whatever I can to help the team."

Wilson Chandler scored 17 points, and Larry Hughes and David Lee each had 12 for the Knicks.

The Jazz led by 21 points early in the second half but the Knicks rallied with an effective zone defense, taking advantage of Utah's perimeter shooting woes while top outside threat Kyle Korver (left knee surgery) remains sidelined.

"We just tried to make them play a different game," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Kirilenko got hot and that's something that hurt us. But I thought we tried. We had energy and we were active."

Utah was still ahead by 11 with under 8 minutes to play before Al Harrington and Danilo Gallinari drilled consecutive 3-pointers to start a 10-0 run that cut it to 84-83 on Harrington's dunk with 6:21 remaining.

Back-to-back layups by Douglas tied it at 93 with 1:36 left and the Knicks forced another miss, but the rebound went right to Okur for a tip-in and the lead for good.

"You just have to keep playing (after blowing a lead)," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "I mean, the game ain't over. They haven't called the game off. You just try and play through it."

The Knicks missed with three more chances to tie, the final one Douglas' tough attempt in the closing seconds on a play that was supposed to go to Hughes.

Utah benefits from every New York loss, so Monday was a win-win proposition.

The Jazz own New York's first-round pick in 2010, which seems destined to be a high lottery selection with the Knicks' woeful start. The pick was originally sent to Phoenix in the Stephon Marbury deal in 2004 and later moved to Utah by the Suns in a trade for Tom Gugliotta.

New York was headed toward another big first-quarter deficit when Utah raced to a 22-10 lead, but the Knicks locked down defensively, holding the Jazz to three points the final 5 minutes and cutting it to 25-18.

Utah opened another double-digit lead about 3 1/2 minutes into the second, then finished the half with an 11-3 burst to make it 48-31. The Knicks missed all 10 3-point attempts in their lowest-scoring half of the season, hearing some loud boos in the final minutes.

Kirilenko hit one of his five 3-pointers to push it to 52-31 1:10 into the second half and the Jazz led by double digits for nearly the entire third quarter, bringing a 78-64 advantage into the final 12 minutes.

"I love to play against zones," Kirilenko said. "Defensively, guys, they don't really pay attention. They don't play against you particularly, they play against a spot."


Knicks C Eddy Curry is expected to return to practice Tuesday for the first time since the opening day of training camp. Curry injured his calf that night and the Knicks decided he wouldn't practice again until he had improved his conditioning enough to avoid injuries. D'Antoni said Curry has been working out on a "pace that's murderous." ... Injured guard Nate Robinson (sprained right ankle) could return late this week. ... Utah backup guard Ronnie Price left with a sprained left big toe. X-rays were negative.