The Jazz hosted the New York Knicks on Wednesday night after losing on Tuesday to the Kings in Sacramento. The Jazz are 1-2 since Rudy Gobert went out with an MCL sprain. They’ve struggled on defense, while upping their offensive production. But the Jazz built their success last season on a defensive identity, and need to find a remedy for their woes on that end of the floor. The Jazz were strong on both ends against the Knicks.
The Knicks are coming off a loss to Dallas on Monday night. This would be the start of a three-game road trip for the Knicks. Kristaps Porzingis is quickly becoming a star in New York this season. He has taken the league by storm, and Porzingis fever is sweeping the media. He fulfilled a life-long dream in their last game by playing against his idol, Dirk Nowitzki. Porzingis played well in the losing effort, leading all scorers with 28 points. At 7’3” with outside range, he’s tough to defend.
The Jazz have struggled to gain momentum this season, never having won more than two games in a row. This last stretch of games has been disappointing for the Jazz, as they’ve lost a few games they feel they should have won. Still, at 9-10, the Jazz have done well to keep it together overall. They haven’t had a stretch where they’ve lost four out of five, but they would need a win against New York to keep that up.
This game was all Jazz. Kristaps Porzingis made the game’s first basket, after that the Jazz took over. Gordon Hayward hit two threes in a row to start the scoring for Utah. On the Jazz’ next offensive possession Raul Neto knocked one down, making it 9-2 for the Jazz early. Utah continued to shoot well, going 4/5 from three in the first quarter. Nothing was falling for New York. They went 0/6 from three in the first half, and struggled even making free throws. Gordon Hayward outscored the Knicks himself, 13-11, in the first quarter. At the end of the first half the Jazz led 60-35. At one point during the second quarter the Jazz led by 32, matching their biggest lead of the season.
New York got off to a good start in the third quarter, and even closed the Jazz’ lead to 18. But as the fourth quarter got under way the Jazz just poured it on, building their lead back up to around 30 points. As we got into garbage time things got a little chippy. Rodney Hood knocked Sasha Vujacic to the ground on a fast break and was immediately ejected with 3:01 left to play. Things wound down ceremoniously and the Jazz won 106-85.
The Jazz have some tough games coming up in the next few days. They’ll play a home and home against Oklahoma City, followed by a trip to San Antonio to take on the Spurs. They’ll have to do everything they can to stay around .500 over this tough stretch of games. This win put the Jazz to 10-10 on the year.
Gordon Hayward – 24 points 4 rebounds 5 assists:
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