Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/10

Game 1: Wednesday, December 10th
Game 2: Friday, February 20th

Jazz 92


Knicks 78

(26-30, 16-14 home)

    Coverage: MSG

    7:30 PM ET, February 20, 2004

    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    1 2 3 4 T
    UTAH 17 26 24 2592
    NY 11 17 22 2878

    Top Performers

    UTAH: A. Kirilenko 23 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 4 Stl

    NY: S. Marbury 21 Pts, 5 Ast

    Kirilenko scores 23 for Jazz

    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 half.

    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.

    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.

    Game notes

    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."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 92 78
    FGM-FGA 29-73 (.397) 24-63 (.381)
    3PM-3PA 4-12 (.333) 4-11 (.364)
    FTM-FTA 30-34 (.882) 26-38 (.684)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-46 10-30
    Assists 21 15
    Turnovers 17 17
    Steals 11 10
    Blocks 3 9
    Fast Break Points 3 1
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (0/0) 26 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New York
    Andrei Kirilenko Kirilenko
    Points: 23
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 4
    Blk: 0
    Stephon Marbury Marbury
    Points: 21
    Reb: 0
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0