Anthony, Knicks Enjoy Easy 108-81 Win Over Jazz

Anthony added a season-high eight assists while playing just three quarters of a game that wasn't competitive for long

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    New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (7) is defended by Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward (20) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, March 7, 2014, in New York. The Knicks won the game 108-81. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    Carmelo Anthony scored 18 of his 29 points in the first quarter, sending the New York Knicks to a rare easy night in a 108-81 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday.

    Anthony added a season-high eight assists while playing just three quarters of a game that wasn't competitive for long after the opening tip. J.R. Smith had 17 points and Tyson Chandler finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks, who led by as many as 32.

    With a long way to go to get back into playoff position, the Knicks won their second straight following a seven-game losing streak. They began a favorable portion of their schedule by opening an early double-digit lead and remaining comfortably ahead the rest of the way.

    Amare Stoudemire scored 10 for the Knicks, who visit Cleveland on Saturday to play one of the teams in between them and Atlanta, which currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. New York entered play 5½ games behind the Hawks.

    Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks each scored 18 for the Jazz, who dropped their fifth straight and fell to 0-5 on their six-game, nine-day trip that ends Saturday in Philadelphia.

    New York is 23-40 but still has playoff aspirations due to all the weak competition at the bottom of the East. The Knicks' upcoming schedule gives them hope, with games against Philadelphia, Boston and Milwaukee, all among the NBA's worst teams, next week.

    They had no trouble with the Jazz, another lowly squad that lost to the Knicks for the fifth straight time.

    With Smith and Stoudemire having joined the starting lineup, the Knicks jumped to a huge first-quarter lead, just as they did while stopping their skid Wednesday in Minnesota.

    Anthony, who wasn't feeling well, scored the team's final 11 in the period, with a four-point play and another 3-pointer in the final 38 seconds as the Knicks opened a 39-22 lead on 70 percent shooting.

    New York stretched the lead to 21 late in the second quarter and was ahead 60-41 at halftime.

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