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Even without two top players, Knicks still rout Jazz 113-84

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- After learning Amar'e Stoudemire was lost for the remainder of the regular season because of a knee injury, the New York Knicks went out Saturday night and tried to show they could make up for his absence.

The Knicks routed the Utah Jazz 113-84, controlling the game most of the way despite missing Stoudemire as well as forward Carmelo Anthony, who was out for the third straight game with his own knee issue.

J.R. Smith scored 24 points to lead the Knicks (38-22), who won for the third time in their past four games. Steve Novak scored 20 points, including five 3-pointers, and Raymond Felton had 15 for New York.

"Sometimes you come out of bad news ... you can be down or you can rally," Novak said. "And I think that's what you saw. More than anything, you feel for Amar'e, but then you rally together."

Before the game, the Knicks announced Stoudemire would require right knee debridement surgery, similar to the procedure he needed on his left knee before the season.

"It's a loss, a major loss, to what we're trying to do," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said in his pregame press conference about Stoudemire, who had provided a strong offensive presence off the bench while increasing his strength. "We can't sit and sulk and feel sad and upset about it. It's what it is and guys have got to step up and play."

Enes Kanter scored 14 points and Gordon Hayward had 13 for Utah (32-31), which was without injured forward Paul Millsap. The Jazz finished their road trip 0-4 and have dropped seven of eight overall. Utah also watched forward Marvin Williams bruise his left hand along the way.

"It has been a tough trip for us but we can't feel sorry for ourselves," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We have to pick ourselves up and be ready to continue to play. It wasn't one of our best efforts. We are disappointed in the trip and the loss tonight, but it is not over for us."

The Knicks stepped up quickly Saturday, taking a 55-38 lead into halftime after shooting 56.8 percent in the first half. Among those who will have an increased role with Stoudemire out, recent signee Kenyon Martin continued to see his minutes increase and he finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes. Knicks rookie forward Chris Copeland added 12 points in seven minutes.

Martin said he felt bad for Stoudemire, but was "excited" about the opportunity to step in. "I have to step up and try to take advantage of it and help this team," he said.

The Jazz, who started Derrick Favors in Millsap's place because of a knee injury he sustained earlier this week, missed Millsap's scoring. Utah shot just 38.5 percent from the field. After losing its first three games of the road trip by no more than three points, Utah was out of this one by the end of the second quarter.

Down 31-29 about midway through the quarter, Utah watched the Knicks go on a 10-0 run, with four players scoring for New York, including 3-pointers by Felton and Novak. The Knicks led 41-29 with 4:57 left in the half and never looked back.

"We came out to play, had a lot of energy, but it seemed like everything started falling for them," Williams said.

The Knicks entered the fourth quarter up 78-59 and expanded the lead as Smith scored nine points and Novak six in the fourth quarter. Smith scored six straight for the Knicks during a 10-2 run in the fourth that put an exclamation point on the win while upping the lead to 101-71.

NOTES: Stoudemire missed the first two months of the season while recovering from a left knee debridement procedure, after initially being projected to miss six to eight weeks. He had slowly built his way back to contributing to the team, accepting his role off the bench and becoming a key force inside. With Anthony out, the Knicks were especially set to count on Stoudemire taking on more of the scoring load. Woodson said earlier this week he wanted to get Stoudemire's minutes limit up to 30 by the end of the year. Stoudemire averaged 14.2 points and five rebounds in 29 games this season. ... Anthony reported his injured right knee felt "so-so" and that there was some excess fluid. But Woodson said there were no plans yet to drain it and Anthony remained day to day. ... Millsap was out with inflammation in his right knee, the team announced, with Corbin saying Millsap sustained the injury Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Millsap played against the Chicago Bulls on Friday despite the injury, but Corbin said "he was not moving like himself."
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