SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Latrell Sprewell thought if the New York
Knicks could hang around long enough he might have a chance to
steal a rare road win against the Utah Jazz.
Sprewell had two steals and six of his 19 points in the last
2:29 as New York snapped a six-game road losing streak with a 85-79
win over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
"We got off to a good start and then we hung around," Sprewell
said. "I was just in the right place at the right time at the
New York coach Don Chaney was happy about that.
"Sprewell stepped up big time late, especially hitting those
free throws under pressure," Chaney said.
Sprewell made a pair of free throws with 10.7 seconds to play,
giving New York an 83-79 lead. He then stole Bryon Russell's
inbounds pass and made two more foul shots to seal the victory, the
Knicks' first over the Jazz in the last nine meetings.
"We've never won here, ever since I've been a Knick and we've
had a lot of tough games so it was great to come out with a win,"
Kurt Thomas said.
Allan Houston led New York with 20 points, and Thomas added 18
points and 10 rebounds as the Knicks improved to 2-1 since Chaney
received a contract extension.
"It's been a tough year not winning, but our team has stayed
together," Thomas said. "It was a great team effort."
Karl Malone led Utah with 25 points and 11 rebounds, but made
only 11 of a season-high 29 shots. The Jazz shot just 36 percent,
their second-lowest mark of the season.
"You have to give the Knicks credit because they stroked us
right from the beginning of the game," Utah coach Jerry Sloan
"We got down defensively, covered for each other and
communicated," Chaney said.
The game ended a five-game homestand for the Jazz, who beat the
Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night and are 9-3 in their last 12
games as they try to hold on to the last playoff spot in the
"We win a big one (against the Lakers) and then lose one like
this and have to go back on the road," Malone said.
Howard Eisley, who backed up John Stockton for four seasons in
Utah, scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter for the
Knicks, who lost badly to Denver on Thursday night.
"We really turned it around from last night's game and I have
nothing but praise for the pride we showed," Chaney said.
Sprewell capped a 10-2 surge with a baseline drive to lift New
York to a 79-73 lead. He then stole the ball in the backcourt, but
the Knicks failed to convert on the next two possessions.
The Jazz made a last-ditch comeback when Malone scored and was
fouled to make it 81-79 with 47.2 seconds remaining. But Malone
missed the free throw and the Jazz didn't score again.
After trailing most of the middle two quarters, the Jazz
overtook the Knicks late in the third quarter with an 11-2 run,
sparked by three Malone jumpers.
Both teams struggled offensively, failing to hit 40 percent of
their shots and committing a combined 43 turnovers. The difference
was at the free-throw line, where the Knicks made 35 of 40 attempts
compared to Utah's 13 of 19.
Thomas has averaged 19.6 points and 13.8 rebounds and shot
64 percent in his last five games. ... When Stockton took a rest in
the first quarter, Utah led 14-10. When he returned in the second
period, New York led 27-18, a 17-4 swing. ... With 50.9 seconds
left in the half, Malone, who was out of the game, and
Weatherspoon, who was inbounding in front of the Jazz bench, got
into a shouting match, and each received a technical foul.
"Confrontation?" Malone said after the game. "That was no
confrontation." ... Stockton, the NBA's career leader, needs 14
more assists for 15,000 after recording 14 Friday, his first
double-digit assist performance in 11 games.