99 - 107 Final
  for this game

Crawford, Knicks deal Jazz first loss of season

Nov 9, 2008 - 11:44 PM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- In the last three seasons, getting a home win over the Utah Jazz has been a constant for the New York Knicks. Getting two games over .500 has been quite a different story. On Sunday, Jamal Crawford made both things happen.

Crawford scored a season-high 32 points as the Knicks posted their third consecutive victory Sunday, a 107-99 triumph over the previously unbeaten Jazz.

Zach Randolph added 25 points and 14 boards for New York, which equaled its longest winning streak from last season and notched its fifth consecutive home victory over the Jazz.

Besides the contributions from Crawford and Randolph, the Knicks also got a virtually flawless performance from point guard Chris Duhon, who scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and handed out nine assists.

The streak over Utah dates back to the 2003-04 season, long before any of the drama of the last few campaigns had happened. The Knicks have posted two 59-loss showings over the last three seasons, but the franchise is looking to move beyond that and has started off with four wins in the first six games under new head coach Mike D'Antoni.

"It's a team effort and it feels great," Crawford said. "We had two bad losses against Philadelphia and Milwaukee but we had a couple of good practices and bounced back."

That has pushed them to two games over .500 for the first time since January 1, 2005, which is so long ago that Lenny Wilkens was still in charge of the Knicks.

"We held strong and we answered," New York forward Quentin Richardson said. "I was proud of us tonight, and that's the most important thing to us right now - winning. Every win we get matters and we just want to get a winning personality and a winning attitude."

New York also is off to its best six-game start since 2000-01 when it won 48 games under coach Jeff Van Gundy. The first three wins have come against Miami, Charlotte and a winless Washington team but beating a team that is a contender for a deep run in the playoffs made the win even more important.

"It just gives us more confidence," D'Antoni said. "You can look at them and see the bond is growing between them a little bit, a little bit more confidence, all kinds of positive stuff. Obviously, you play a high quality team like Utah that won't beat themselves - you've got to go out and beat them."

"Obviously every win builds confidence, especially when you play a team that has a good shot at winning a championship and we were able to pull it off, especially on your home court," Duhon said. "We definitely feel good about that. It just gives us confidence."

To reach that point, the Knicks took advantage of Jazz forward Carlos Boozer's foul trouble. Boozer had helped Utah take a five-point lead at halftime but, with 9:20 remaining, he was whistled for his fourth foul.

Utah was up 58-54 at the time but was outscored, 22-11, the rest of the quarter. Crawford scored 10 points, including a rare four-point play and the Knicks went ahead for good on Randolph's layup with 2:08 remaining.

The Knicks scored the last 11 points of the period, turning a four-point deficit into a 76-69 lead going into the final frame. Nate Robinson found David Lee for a dunk and Crawford buried a 3-pointer with 23 seconds left in the third to cap the run.

It was the third when New York also got it done defensively, holding Utah to 15 points and none in the final 4:31.

"They shot a very high percentage in the first half, and we just had to make things very difficult for them," Duhon said.

Boozer led the Jazz with 19 points and 17 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to push the Jazz back over the top. The Knicks opened a 12-point lead when Duhon delivered a no-look to pass to Randolph, who converted a layup with 3:34 remaining.

Utah tried to stage a late rally, as Andrei Kirilenko got hot from the perimeter, knocking down three jumpers - including a pair of 3-pointers - to pull to within striking distance at 101-95. But Randolph was too much on the other end, grabbing the rebound on Crawford's miss and draining a layup to push the lead back to eight with a minute left.

"We were dead in the water," Utah head coach Jerry Sloan said. "Our guys didn't even jump for the ball a couple of times. (Randolph) got two or three rebounds in there just going after it hard and pushing our guys out of the way. That's what you're supposed to do. They wanted the game a lot more than we did."

The loss denied Utah its second 6-0 start in franchise history, which would have been impressive considering starting point guard Deron Williams is still out with an ankle injury. In this one, the Jazz committed 22 turnovers - resulting in 30 points - and allowed 14 offensive rebounds.

"We didn't take care of the ball and we had 22 turnovers," Jazz center Mehmet Okur said. "On the road, especially against New York, you can't win like that."

Kirilenko scored 18 points off the bench for the Jazz, who began their five-game, Eastern Conference road trip. Third-year guard Ronnie Brewer added 12 points, seven assists and seven steals.