NEW YORK (ABC4 Sports) – New York proved to be a concrete jungle where dreams are not made of.
One night after losing by 36 points to the Brooklyn Nets, the Utah Jazz got run over in the second half by the New York Knicks in a 112-100 loss at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night.
Austin Rivers scored 23 points, including 14 straight for the Knicks down the stretch, and Julius Randle had 30 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists as New York erased an 18-point deficit to hand the Jazz its second straight loss in the empire state.
“It just shows you our spirit and our growth,” Rivers said. “This is a young team, so for us to do that against a team like this, a top tier-caliber playoff team, that’s pretty impressive.”
Rivers made four 3-pointers in the final 4:17.
“When he gets going like that he’s hard to stop,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said, “and he’s got a lot of toughness to him. Mental toughness, physical toughness, the courage to take those shots, but we had a lot of guys step up in the second half and really fight.”
Elfrid Payton scored 22 points for the Knicks (5-3), who have already won more times under Thibodeau than they did in their first 22 games last season under David Fizdale, who was fired when they were 4-18.
Jordan Clarkson had 19 points and Donovan Mitchell added 18 for the Jazz, who were swept in a back-to-back set of games in New York. The Brooklyn Nets routed them 130-96 on Tuesday, but Mitchell said the Jazz will get things figured out.
“At the end of the day, we’re going to do this,” Mitchell said. “It’s just a matter of when.”
“We haven’t had a full game where we’ve played well together, and played to what our game plan is and our strengths,” Clarkson said. “But it’s early right now.”
It appeared the Jazz would bounce back easily after building a big lead in the second quarter, but the Knicks outscored Utah 68-44 in the second half.
It was tied at 96 with under five minutes to play before Rivers’ surge. He scored five straight points before a basket by Mitchell, then nailed consecutive 3s to give New York a 107-98 lead with 2:22 to go. Mitchell scored again but Rivers answered with another 3 for a 10-point lead with 47 seconds remaining.
Utah coach Quin Snyder said it was hard to have a normal preparation for Wednesday’s game because of the difficulty concentrating on basketball while watching the violence in Washington.
Yet, the Jazz appeared much more ready to play Wednesday than a night earlier, when they trailed 35-14 after one quarter. A 19-5 spurt pushed their lead to 34-20 and they were ahead by as much as 18 later in the period.
But the Knicks outscored the Jazz 34-19 in the third quarter, and 34-25 in the fourth.
“We have a tendency as a fan base to kind of go crazy during a 4-4 start,” Mitchell said. “We’ve had stretches like this, and if we continue to sit here and feel depressed and upset, it’s not going to change. I’m not saying we’re expecting to just click at some point. We’ve got to do the work.”
The Jazz will play the fourth game of a seven-game road trip Friday night in Milwaukee.