NEW YORK (AP) — With Carmelo Anthony still out and Amare Stoudemire headed for surgery, the New York Knicks need other players to step up.
Plenty of guys took the opportunity Saturday.
J.R. Smith scored 24 points and the Knicks shook off the absence of Anthony and the surprising and disappointing news about Stoudemire to rout the slumping Utah Jazz 113-84.
The Knicks learned earlier Saturday that Stoudemire will have right knee surgery that will sideline him approximately six weeks. But they still have plenty of scoring off the bench, with Steve Novak adding a season-high 20 points.
‘’Everybody has to pitch in,’’ coach Mike Woodson said. ‘’I can’t sit here and say who should score and who shouldn’t score. It’s got to be a total team effort on everybody’s effort.’’
Alec Burks scored 14 points and Gordon Hayward had 13 for the Jazz, who completed a 0-4 road trip that dropped them into a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
‘’It has been a tough trip for us but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to pick ourselves up and be ready to continue,’’ Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. “It wasn’t one of our best efforts. We are disappointed in the trip and the loss tonight, but it’s not over for us.
‘’We are in the eighth spot right now and we are trying to hold on to it or move up. We have to fight, claw and dig ourselves out in order to move up. This group has shown that fight.’’
Utah played without starting forward Paul Millsap because of right knee inflammation.
The Knicks bounced back from a 95-94 loss to Oklahoma City on Thursday to win for the sixth time in eight games, seizing control with an 18-2 run in the second quarter and taking a 32-point lead in the second half.
They played their third straight game without Anthony, their leading scorer who they said has a stiff and sore right knee. Woodson said he remains day to day, so Anthony could return during the Knicks’ five-game western trip that begins Monday at Golden State and includes a stop in Denver for what would be Anthony’s first game there since the Nuggets traded him to New York in February, 2011.