Despite an early scare, the New York Knicks took care of business against an awful Utah Jazz team to remain one game behind the Atlanta Hawks in the race for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 34 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. He finished an efficient 11-for-19 from the floor.
Playing their fifth game in seven nights, the Knicks were down 10 early and trailed by one at the half but outscored Utah 31-20 in the third to take control.
New York improved to 2-32 when trailing at the half.
The Knicks trail the Hawks by one game in the standings but are two back in the loss column with seven to play.
Atlanta appears to have the easier schedule down the stretch. Five of their nine remaining opponents are under .500.
All seven of the Knicks' remaining games are against teams over .500.
Atlanta also currently holds the tiebreaker with the Knicks, by virtue of record against conference opponents.
Three-for-all: The Knicks started the game 2-for-13 from beyond the arc. Their awful outside shooting was part of the reason they fell behind by 10 in the first half.
But the 3-ball got New York back in the game in the third.
The Knicks hit three straight 3s (Anthony, J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr.) to complete a 21-point swing in the third quarter. By the time the run ended, they'd outscored the Jazz 15-2, and had the game under control.
Balancing act: Anthony led the way for the Knicks, but four other players finished in double figures.
Tyson Chandler finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Chandler was also strong defensively. The Knicks outscored the Jazz by 15 points during his 35 minutes.
Smith didn't shoot it well but finished with 14 points and found a way to help in other ways. He handed out four assists, had a steal and pulled down three rebounds.
The Knicks' defense held the Jazz to 39 percent shooting from the field -- the second straight game that a Knicks opponent has shot less than 40 percent from the floor.
Walking wounded: Rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr. had 10 points but sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter. He hobbled off the floor. The Knicks were also without Amar'e Stoudemire, who sat out to rest his oft-injured knees.
Iman Shumpert started in place of Stoudemire and had two points on 1-for-5 shooting.
What's next: The Knicks will play the Brooklyn Nets at the Garden on Wednesday.
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