W2W4: Knicks vs. Jazz

March, 9, 2013
3/09/13
11:30
AM ET
Can the Knicks leave town on a high note?

They face the Utah Jazz on Saturday night. It's their last game at Madison Square Garden until March 20.

After the game against Utah, the Knicks head west to start a season-high five-game, seven-day trip. Four of those five games are against teams in the playoff race.

Before they hit the road, they face a Jazz team that has lost three straight.

Here are a few things to watch during the game:

STAT AND MELO? The Knicks may be without their top two offensive threats Saturday. Both Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony are game-time decisions due to knee injuries. For full details, click here.

THREE FOR ALL: The Knicks have relied heavily on their 3-point shot all season. They lead the league in attempts and makes. The 3 was a key to their 18-5 start. But in the 15-15 stretch that followed, their shooting percentage dipped 7 percent, making them one of the poorest shooting teams in the league over that span.

But New York has started knocking down the long ball of late.

The Knicks have hit 10 or more 3s in three straight games after doing so only twice in their prior 10 contests. They could have an easy time against the Jazz, which is allowing opponents to shoot a league-high 41.7 percent from beyond the arc.

D-FENSE! In addition to 3-point shooting, the Knicks have picked it up on defense of late.

In five games since March 1, they've allowed 91.2 points per game. Their opponents have shot 45.3 percent from the field and allowed 98.5 points per 100 possessions.

How much of an improvement is that?

In February, the Knicks gave up 97.2 points per game. On the season, they've allowed 96 points per game. Foes have scored 103 points per 100 possessions.

One Jazz player the Knicks need to keep an eye on Saturday is Al Jefferson. The big man finished with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting against Chicago on Friday after missing three games with a sprained left ankle. Jefferson has averaged 24.8 points while shooting 59.2 percent in his last four against the Knicks.

HISTORY LESSON: If recent history is any indication, the Knicks should walk off the floor with a win Saturday night against the Utah Jazz -- even if Anthony and Stoudemire don't play.

The Knicks have won seven of eight against Utah at MSG, and the Jazz are just 10-22 on the road.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Ian Begley

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
24.2 3.1 1.0 35.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 6.6
AssistsJ. Calderon 4.7
StealsS. Larkin 1.3
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.3