A much-needed victory may have taken some of the pressure off coach Mike D’Antoni, but in order to record rare back-to-back wins the New York Knicks
will have to overcome a big absence.
After his brother was killed early Monday in a car crash in Florida, Amare Stoudemire
won’t be available when the Knicks face the Utah Jazz
later that evening at Madison Square Garden.
Little-used Jeremy Lin
may have given the embattled coach a reprieve Saturday, coming off the bench to score a career-high 25 points with seven assists and five rebounds to power New York’s 99-92 win over New Jersey.
“Jeremy came out and gave us a great spark off the bench, and that was phenomenal for us,” Stoudemire said.
While Lin is trying to prove he can contribute on a regular basis, Carmelo Anthony
is trying to bounce back from another lackluster effort. The star forward made just 3 of 15 shots from the field and finished with 11 points Saturday in New York’s third game in as many days.
He had 26 in each of the previous two games, but those ended in losses to Chicago and Boston.
Anthony has been marred by poor performances at times, and he’s shooting 39.8 percent from the floor - well off his 45.7 career rate.
He’s averaged 31.0 points on 51.5 percent shooting in his last five meetings with Utah (13-9), including a 34-point performance in a 131-109 win at MSG on March 7 to end a four-game slide in the series.
The Knicks and Jazz split two meetings last season, but New York has won six of seven at The Garden.