NEW YORK (AP) -- Stephon Marbury had an unhappy 27th birthday,
getting booed at Madison Square Garden in a Friday night fiasco.
Facing a Utah Jazz team that exposed their new weakness, the New
York Knicks played one of their worst games of the Isiah Thomas era
and lost 92-78.
"I never would have wished for this, but it happened -- and it
happened on my birthday," Marbury said.
Andrei Kirilenko scored 23 points, Sasha Pavlovic moved into the
vacated starting shooting guard spot and scored 16, and the Jazz
opened a big early lead and were never threatened in the second
Marbury scored 21 and Tim Thomas moved into Keith Van Horn's old
starting spot at small forward and struggled on both ends of the
court. He shot 4-for-11 and scored 17 points, 11 coming in the
fourth quarter after the game had already been decided.
The Jazz employed a zone defense for long stretches and dared
the Knicks to beat them from outside, and New York couldn't do it
as Allan Houston (sore knee) missed his ninth consecutive game.
"We always play teams that way. If we keep teams from getting
layups and we get layups, that's to our advantage," Jazz coach
Jerry Sloan said. "We know if we can't handle them in certain
situations, we've got to try and make them shoot over the top."
The Knicks recently had two other strong perimeter shooters, but
Van Horn and Michael Doleac were traded last weekend for Tim Thomas
and Nazr Mohammed -- the last of a flurry of moves by the new team
president. Isiah Thomas had some company for this game as
Cablevision chairman James Dolan watched the game alongside him
near the midcourt tunnel.
The Knicks, who shot just 38 percent, scored 28 points in the
fourth quarter -- matching their first-half output -- to make the
final score somewhat respectable.
"We played hard in spurts," Marbury said before stopping
himself. "I don't know, I'm trying to make something up. We just
didn't have it tonight."
Utah, coming off lopsided road losses at Miami and Orlando,
snapped a three-game losing streak using a new starting lineup.
Jarron Collins replaced Greg Ostertag at center for the first
time this season, and Pavlovic took over the spot formerly held by
DeShawn Stevenson, who was traded to Orlando on Thursday for Gordan
Giricek played only the final 2 minutes, while Ostertag had 16
points and seven rebounds.
"Usually when changes are made they're made with me first, but
I've grown accustomed to that," Ostertag said.
Utah held New York to 11 points in the first quarter, with Penny
Hardaway providing a glimpse of what kind of night it would be for
the Knicks by missing a breakaway layup late in the period.
The Knicks had 10 field goals and 10 turnovers at halftime when
they trailed 43-28, and Marbury missed his first three free throw
attempts in the third quarter as the crowd grew restless.
It was 67-50 after three quarters, and Ostertag met no
resistance as he scored on a layup off a pass from Kirilenko with
9:33 remaining to make it 76-56.
"No effort! Must be a big birthday party tonight," a heckler
yelled at the Knicks.
It certainly wasn't a party for them in their own building.
"We came out way too soft in the beginning. They took it to us
and never looked back," Hardaway said.
The Jazz swept the season series, winning both games by big
margins. ... Utah coach Jerry Sloan on why he would not use Giricek
much: "He wouldn't have any more idea of what we're doing than the
man on the moon. Got to give him a little while before he sees how
screwed up we are." ... Tom Gugliotta, acquired Thursday from the
Phoenix Suns, will not join the team until it returns to Utah
following Sunday's game at Indiana. ... Kirilenko on the best part
of playing in the All-Star game: "My two points, of course."
Kevin Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combine for 71 points as the Cavaliers go up 31 points at the half and rout the Raptors 116-78.
After the Raptors' Game 5 loss to the Cavaliers, Stephen A. Smith has some harsh criticism for Toronto, saying, "It was one of the most pathetic performances that I've ever seen in my life."
The Cleveland Cavaliers vaporized the Toronto Raptors in Game 5, smothering the Canadian backcourt to take a 3-2 series lead in the East finals.