The New York Knicks will look to complete their most successful month in almost 30 years Tuesday night when they host the Utah Jazz in a battle of teams completing back-to-back sets.
The Knicks earned their seventh straight win Monday night when they pulled away from the host Charlotte Hornets for a 113-92 victory. The Jazz will be completing a six-game road trip following a 147-114 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.
The result at Charlotte improved the Knicks to 13-2 this month — the most wins for the franchise in a month since January 1995, when a Patrick Ewing-led, Pat Riley-coached team went 13-2. New York hasn’t won 14 games in a month since going 14-0 in March 1994.
The surge has vaulted the Knicks into a virtual tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia 76ers. The two teams are a half-game ahead of the fifth-place Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Knicks may have to continue their climb for an indefinite period of time without All-Star forward Julius Randle, who sustained a dislocated right shoulder in the fourth quarter of a 125-109 win over the visiting Miami Heat on Saturday. New York coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday he was maintaining optimism but added that Randle was still undergoing testing.
Without both Randle and OG Anunoby, who is day-to-day with right elbow inflammation, the Knicks leaned heavily on Jalen Brunson (32 points) and Donte DiVincenzo (28) against the Hornets. Miles McBride added 11 points and Isaiah Hartenstein had 10, and Josh Hart contributed eight points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
“You’re not replacing Julius with any one player — same with OG,” Thibodeau said after the Knicks outscored the Hornets 67-49 in the second half. “So for us, the collection (is) everybody working together. Everyone is capable of playing great defense. Everyone is capable (of) moving the ball well.”
Unfortunately for the Jazz, their loss Monday was also a team effort. Utah trailed 43-28 after one quarter and entered the fourth quarter down by 17 points before being outscored 43-27 over the final 12 minutes.
The 33-point loss was the second largest of the season for Utah, whose streak of consecutive 120-point efforts ended at 11 games, one shy of the NBA record. The Jazz turned the ball over 17 times, their most turnovers since Jan. 6.
The Jazz also allowed the skidding Nets — who have lost 12 of 16 games — to record their most lopsided win of the season while shooting 46.7 percent from 3-point range (21 of 45), their best effort since Dec. 11.
The loss threatened to provide a sour ending to what has been an otherwise successful month for the Jazz. Utah won 10 of its first 14 games in January to climb over .500 for the first time this season.
“We just got outworked tonight, plain and simple,” said Jazz coach Will Hardy, whose team is now 24-24 on the season. “Just (have to) get back to the approach that got us a string of very good results over the last month.
“We’re going to play 10 people. Our energy is not going to wane throughout the game because of that.”
–Field Level Media
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