Rapid Reaction: Knicks 108, Jazz 81

If nothing else, the Knicks did a nice job selling themselves to Phil Jackson on Friday night.

With reports swirling that the Knicks reached out to Jackson to coach or run the team, New York came out and crushed the hapless Jazz to win their second straight game.

The Knicks last won consecutive games Jan. 28-30.

New York improved to 23-40 with the win and held on to its tenuous playoff chances. The Knicks are five games back of the Hawks for the eighth seed in the woeful Eastern Conference.

Only two teams since 1984 have rebounded from five-game deficits with fewer than 25 games to play to make the postseason. New York plays just one team over .500 in its next nine games, so if the Knicks want to make a run, the coming schedule presents a nice opportunity.

Melo fellow: Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 29 points in 32 minutes. Anthony, playing with a cold, poured in 18 in the first quarter as the Knicks raced out to a 17-point lead.

Anthony had eight assists and hit 10 of 19 shots from the field.

Anthony’s hot early shooting propelled the Knicks to a season-high 39 first-quarter points. In their win over the Timberwolves on Wednesday, the Knicks had 38.

Five alive: Once again, coach Mike Woodson went with a starting lineup that included Amar'e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith. The moved seemed to work.

Four of the Knicks’ starters finished in double figures. Stoudemire had eight points in the first quarter. Smith added 17, and Tyson Chandler had 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Since Woodson inserted Stoudemire into the starting lineup three games ago, the Knicks have outscored opponents by 42 points in the first quarter.

Sad song: The Jazz fell to 0-5 on their road trip and have lost five in a row against the Knicks. New York limited Utah to 41 percent shooting from the field. The Jazz missed 21 of 27 3-point attempts.

What’s next: The Knicks will play the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Saturday night.

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