The Utah Jazz are now on the brink of falling out of the playoff race after losing to the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden, 113-84. The loss put the Jazz in a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth place in the Western Conference, though the Jazz do hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers.
J.R. Smith's 24 points paced the Knicks, who were playing without both Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudamire. It was announced before the game that Stoudamire would be out six weeks after an MRI revealed he'd need knee surgery. The Jazz were also short handed, playing without Paul Millsap. Millsap's production was sorely missed as no Jazz starter managed to score in double-figures. Second-year guard Alec Burks led the team with 14 points off the bench.
Trailing by 17 at the half, the Jazz offense continued be very flat in the third quarter, getting no closer than within 15 points before the Knicks pushed the lead back up to around 20. The Knicks used a 12-4 run to start the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
The Jazz, losers of seven of their last eight, now return home to face the Detroit Pistons Monday night. After that their schedule gets really tough, as they travel to Oklahoma City before hosting Memphis and the Knicks. They then head back out on the road to face the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.