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That Great Knicks Defense Was Fun While It Lasted

Remember all the way back to, er, Tuesday night, when the Knicks played a little defense and held the Blazers to 86 points and just 34.9 percent shooting from the field? Playing their second game in as many nights, and their third in four days, they didn't come close to repeating that formula last night against a rested Utah team — one that shot the lights out in a 131–125 victory. Seven players scored in double figures for Utah, led by Deron Williams and C.J. Miles, who dropped 24 each. As a team, Utah shot 58.4 percent from the field.

The Knicks tried to keep up: They hit more than half their shots, as well, and hit 14 of 29 threes, led by Shawne Williams, who came off the bench to drop 25 points on near-perfect shooting (7–8) from beyond the arc. (Bill Walker added 23 points off the bench of his own.) But foul trouble kept Raymond Felton, who played despite spraining his ankle in Portland, and (especially) Amar'e Stoudemire off the floor for key stretches on a night when four Knicks ended the game with at least five fouls. (Felton's time on the bench meant minutes for Toney Douglas, whom Mike D'Antoni had hoped to rest because of a sore shoulder. Also: Roger Mason got to play, just the third time he's done that since November.)

And thus ends the Knicks' four-game road trip — one they finish with a 2–2 record. Next up: Still more games against Western Conference teams (five of them, in fact), beginning Friday night against Sacramento at the Garden.

Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBA/Getty Images