NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire caution it won’t always be this easy.
Nobody was ruling it out, though.
“We’ll have nights that they’re unstoppable,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said.
The Utah Jazz just experienced one.
Anthony scored 34 points, Stoudemire added 31, and the Knicks showed how dangerous they can be when their superstars are rolling, beating the Jazz 131-109 on Monday night.
Anthony and Stoudemire combined to make 24 of 31 shots, then were on the bench for the entire final period. Stoudemire departed long before the third even ended, shooting 12-of-15 in just 24 minutes, and Anthony soon joined him after his first 30-point game with the Knicks.
But Anthony insisted big-scoring nights are not why he came to New York.
“We’re not going to shoot like that, I don’t think. There’s not going to be a game where we only miss six or seven shots combined,” he said. “We hope we go out there and score 30 points and we win and everybody else contributes in their own way, but for me personally, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to put that pressure on me to go out there and say that I want to score 30 points a night. I’m past that now.”
Toney Douglas had 20 points in a strong start in place of the injured Chauncey Billups as the Knicks moved a game ahead of Philadelphia for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. New York shot 56 percent from the field in its highest-scoring effort of the season.
“Myself and Carmelo can score 1-on-1 with ease, but to get other players involved and play team basketball is the ultimate goal for us and tonight it worked out very well,” Stoudemire said.
Al Jefferson scored a season-high 36 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Jazz, who opened an important four-game road trip by losing for the ninth time in 11 games. Utah came in tied for ninth in the West, at risk of falling hopelessly behind after the resignation of Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan and trade of All-Star point guard Deron Williams.
“As individuals, as a group, as a franchise, that’s embarrassing the way we came out and played tonight,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. “Even if you lose a game, you can lose with some dignity. I don’t think this loss tonight did anybody any good.”
With former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier sitting courtside to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his victory over Muhammad Ali here, the Knicks delivered an early knockout, scoring 40 points in the first quarter and never letting Utah get close from there.
A night after their best defensive performance of the season in a 92-79 victory at Atlanta, the Knicks revved up their offense for this one. Anthony was only 6 of 18 for 14 points Sunday, saying afterward he had blurry vision and a migraine after being poked in the eye.
He had no problem finding the basket in this one.
His pull-up jumper was on the mark, and he hit 4 of 5 when he stepped beyond the 3-point line. The Knicks led 102-74 after three, and fans began chanting for seldom-used rookie Andy Rautins, who got in midway through the final quarter.
The Knicks, who pulled away from the Hawks with a 19-2 run in the second half, got started quickly in this one. New York hit 11 of its first 14 shots, opening an 18-point lead on Anthony’s basket with 2:45 remaining. The Knicks led 40-24, their highest-scoring opening quarter of the season and one off their best in any period.
“You can’t give a team like this a 40-point quarter to start the game,” Jazz point guard Devin Harris said.
Utah got it down to 12 in the second quarter, but Anthony hit a 3-pointer and Stoudemire made a pair of free throws in the last 21 seconds of the half as the Knicks took a 66-48 lead to the break.
Stoudemire scored 14 in the third, including a basket and three-point play on consecutive possessions that gave New York an 87-56 bulge with 6:06 remaining in the period.
The Jazz seemed to lose their spirit along the way, trudging to the sideline after taking a timeout early in the third and spending part of the break simply watching a game of musical chairs taking place on the court.
Then again, they probably weren’t going to come up with a strategy to stop Stoudemire or Anthony on this night.
“We’re not here to have fun. We’re not here to enjoy the nightlife. We’re not here to get away from Utah,” Jefferson said. “We’re here to take care of business and we didn’t play like that tonight.”
Derrick Brown, claimed off waivers from Charlotte last week, got his first basket with the Knicks by leaping high for a follow shot in the fourth and scored six points. Rautins got on the board by making a jumper with 2:38 to go.
Notes: Billups missed his fourth straight game with a bruised left thigh. … The Knicks are on the road the rest of the week, visiting Memphis and Dallas while the Big East tournament is contested at Madison Square Garden. St. John’s coach Steve Lavin, whose team has an opening-round bye, attended the game. … Frazier received a standing ovation during a third-quarter timeout, when his knockdown of Ali in the 15th round of their bout was shown on the overhead video board. “Don’t seem like no 40 years,” Frazier said before the game, adding he “still could box if I had to.” … The Jazz had won the last four meetings.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)