The Knicks finish off another west coast road trip on Wednesday in Utah, trying to salvage at least one win against the mighty Jazz.
The Knicks’ four-game road trip concludes Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz at 9:00 p.m. ET.
New York (10-27) has lost the first three games of their road trip; they blew an early fourth-quarter lead to the Phoenix Suns on Friday, lost to the L.A. Clippers after tying a franchise record for first-quarter points on Sunday, and got smoked by the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
Their next opponent, the 24-12 Utah Jazz, is on pace to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season. The Jazz are fifth in the Western Conference and currently ride a league-leading six-game winning streak.
Donovan Mitchell, a native of Elmsford, New York, leads the way for Utah. The third-year shooting guard is averaging 25.0 points per game (good for 12th in the league and his career-high) on 46.2% field goal shooting and 36.0% three-point shooting. He averages 4.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, also career highs.
Mitchell has recently played point guard due to the absence of Mike Conley, who has been out since early December with a left hamstring injury. In the 15 games since then, Mitchell has averaged 25.6 points, 5.5 assists, and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 50.2% from the field and 34.8% from downtown.
Flanking Mitchell on the wings are Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles, both of whom shoot over 40% on three-pointers. Bogdanovic averages 20.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while Ingles puts up 10.5 points, 4.6 assists, and 4.4 rebounds.
The Jazz boast two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, who averages 14.5 points, 14.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. The starting lineup is rounded out by 3-and-D forward Royce O’Neal.
The Jazz rank first in three-point percentage and ninth in field goal percentage but just 21st in points per game. The team ranks 20th in three-point attempts per game and eighth in made threes per game.
Utah uses screens better than any team. Per NBA Stats, Utah averages the most screen assists and screen assist points by a comfortable margin. Gobert leads players in both categories, too.
Utah’s defense is also among the league’s best. Their opponents’ points per game, three-point attempts per game, free throw attempts per game, field goal percentage, and three-point percentage all rank in the bottom ten in the league.
A new Knick has reportedly entered trade talks: Bobby Portis. SNY’s Ian Begley reported that teams are interested in the 24-year-old big man.
Portis signed a two-year, $31 million deal with a team option for the second year with New York this past summer. In his first year with the Knicks, Portis has averaged 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists on 44.0% field goal shooting. He’s also averaging 1.1 made triples per game on 38.2% shooting from behind the arc.
Portis joins Marcus Morris and Dennis Smith Jr. as Knicks with reported interest from other teams. Teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers have shown interest in Morris, while the Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the teams that have shown interest in Smith.
Dennis Smith Jr. (strained left oblique) and Marcus Morris (sore neck) were late scratches last game. It was Smith’s sixth missed game in a row and Morris’ fourth game missed all season.
UPDATE: 12:27 p.m. ET.
Julius Randle will not play on Wednesday night, the team announced, for personal reasons.