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Saturday, March 9, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Knicks 113, Jazz 84

By Ian Begley


Their top two offensive threats are out due to injury, so the Knicks relied primarily on defense -- what else? -- to get the job done against the Jazz on Saturday night.

The Knicks beat the Jazz 113-84 hours after learning that they'll be without Amar'e Stoudemire for approximately six weeks because the power forward needs surgery to repair wear and tear in his right knee.


They also played without Carmelo Anthony, who missed his third straight game with a sore right knee.

But it was no Stoudemire, no Melo, no problem thanks to a huge effort from J.R. Smith (24 points), Steve Novak (20 points) and Raymond Felton (15 points).

Thanks to a stellar night guarding the rim from Tyson Chandler, New York held Utah to just 37.7 percent shooting. The Jazz missed 18 of 25 3-point attempts but, it should be noted, that Utah was on the final game of a four-game road trip, on which they were winless.

JUMPIN' J.R.: With Stoudemire out, Smith becomes the Knicks' unquestioned secondary scoring option (assuming Melo comes back at some point).

On Saturday though, Smith was the Knicks' No. 1 option, and he fit that role just fine.

Smith had 24 points on an efficient 10-for-18 shooting. He hit four of eight from beyond the arc and had 11 points in the fourth quarter.

He punctuated the Knicks' win with an emphatic double-clutch dunk midway through the fourth quarter.

STEVIE KNICKS: The Knicks got a shot of Novakaine on Saturday night, and it was sorely needed. Novak helped pick up the slack for his banged-up teammates with a 20-point night. He hit five of 10 3s and even took it to the rim once after throwing a ball fake from beyond the arc. Somewhere on the sideline, Mike Woodson was smiling.

RAY'S DAY: Felton, incredibly, was a plus-34 in his 24 minutes on the court. He had four assists and three turnovers as the Knicks led by as many as 19 in the first half and 32 in the fourth. Kenyon Martin contributed 10 points, six rebounds and two steals in 22 minutes, and Chris Copeland scored 12 points in just seven minutes.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks have a day to breathe before embarking on a five-game, seven-day road trip out west. They play four teams currently in line to make the playoffs and a Portland team that's tough at home.

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