5 Things to Know: Knicks Face a Jazz Team Seeking to Clinch a Playoff Spot

1. The Knicks suffered a 114-105 defeat in the first outing on the current four-game west coast trip. Powered by Blake Griffin’s 30 points in only three quarters, the Clippers cruised to a 114-105 win in Los Angeles. The Clippers outscored New York 34-19 in the crucial third period to secure the season series victory. Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick Rose scored 18 points apiece and Carmelo Anthony added 16 in the Monday night contest.

2. Porzingis returned to the lineup in Los Angeles after missing one game due to a contused left thigh. As mentioned above, Porzingis posted 18 points on 9-of-16 from the floor and he snatched 11 boards in 32 minutes of action. Porzingis started at the power forward spot on Monday night next to Willy Hernangomez and Anthony in the frontcourt.

3. Head coach Jeff Hornacek confirmed to the media at Wednesday morning’s shootaround that he will look to limit veteran minutes moving forward. On Monday, Anthony played 25 minutes, Rose logged 28, and Courtney Lee played 22. The Knicks have 12 games remaining on the schedule, including five road contests and seven at MSG to conclude the 2016-17 regular season.

4. Tonight in Utah, the Jazz can clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Knicks and a loss by the Nuggets. Currently, Utah holds the fourth seed in the Western Conference standings and a half-game lead over the Clippers. At 43-28, the Jazz have lost three straight games heading into the matchup against New York. Utah is 23-12 in home games this season.

5. The Jazz will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s first Western Conference Championship tonight. Players, coaches, athletic trainers, and front office staff will be honored at halftime as part of the “Reunited: ’97 Western Conference Champs” celebration. And, of course, the Knicks head coach will take part in the event tonight at the half. Hornacek played a pivotal role for Utah’s Finals teams and throughout his storied career for the Jazz. The former shooting guard averaged 14.5 points while shooting 37 percent from the 3-point line during Utah’s first trip to the NBA Finals in 1997.

by Jonah Ballow

NYKnicks.com @jonahballow

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