Jazz-Knicks preview

Now the basketball sneaker is on the other foot.

Eight days ago the Utah Jazz were handed a 29-point beatdown by the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Tonight, the same two teams will meet again, this time at EnergySolutions Arena.

When they met earlier in New York, the Jazz were at the end of a long Eastern Conference road trip. They’d lost three in a row before falling to the Knicks, 113-84.

New York now has dropped four in a row, including a 93-80 loss to the Clippers on Sunday afternoon.

Because it’ll be carried nationally on ESPN, tonight’s game won’t start until at least 8:30 p.m. locally.

Utah (34-32) is at full strength and coming off a home victory over Memphis on Saturday.

The Knicks (38-26) aren’t likely to have small forward Carmelo Anthony, nor center Tyson Chandler, center Amar’e Stoudemire or forward Rasheed Wallace available tonight.

“Do I think we’ve got enough guys to win tonight, playing a team that’s pretty damn good here at home? I think so,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “But we’ve got to be committed for 48 minutes. We’ve been playing in spurts, being shorthanded. Not playing badly, but it hadn’t been enough to get over the hump.”

Anthony, who is averaging 27.5 points per game, has missed five of the Knicks’ last seven games with a right knee injury.

Officially, he is listed as “questionable” for the game. However, after Monday’s shootaround, the All-Star told reporters he won’t play.

The Jazz are just 3-7 in their last 10 games. Beating the Grizzlies gave them a boost of confidence but with 15 games left in the regular season they remain in a fight to make the playoffs.

Going into tonight’s game they trail the Los Angeles Lakers by a full game for the No. 8 spot in the standings.

“Every game is our Super Bowl,” Jazz guard Randy Foye said.

Each member of the Jazz’s starting five averages in double figures, led by center Al Jefferson (17.4 points), power forward Paul Millsap (15.0) and small forward Gordon Hayward (14.1).

Only one New York starter averages in double figures, that’s point guard Raymond Felton (14.5). Guard J.R. Smith averages 16.7 points as his team’s sixth man.


About Jim Burton

Jim Burton has worked for the Standard-Examiner since 1991. He has covered everything from the preps to Utah, BYU, Weber State and the Ogden Raptors. Currently he is the Standard's Utah Jazz beatwriter and its sports columnist.
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