Reserve J.R. Smith scored 24 points for the New York Knicks who defeated the Utah Jazz 113-84 without Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Stoudemire, 30, will miss as much as six weeks after undergoing “a right knee debridement,” the Knicks said before last night’s game.
“He’s been very efficient with how he’s been playing,” coach Mike Woodson told reporters. “I feel for Amar’e. He put a lot of work in this summer to get back on the court. Now he’s got to go back in again.”
The Knicks (38-22) lead the Eastern Conference’s five-team Atlantic Division, 2 1/2 games over the Brooklyn Nets (37-26) who won their third straight game with a 93-80 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Stoudemire underwent the same procedure to remove dead or damaged tissue or bone from his left knee before the start of the season, which kept him on the bench until Jan. 1. Since returning, he has been limited by the medical staff to 30 minutes, a time limit he exceeded twice this week.
Stoudemire, who averaged 14.2 points and five rebounds in 29 games as a reserve, isn’t expected to return until after April 17, the last day of the regular season.
Anthony, 28, collapsed on the court with a knee injury during the Knicks’ game against Cleveland on March 4 and hasn’t returned to the team. He was averaging 28.2 points and 6.2 rebounds this season.
At Madison Square Garden last night, Steve Novak had 20 points and Raymond Felton added 15 points for the Knicks, who had a 55-38 halftime lead.
Alex Burks scored 14 points and Gordon Hayward contributed 13 for the Jazz (32-31), who have lost four straight games.
Utah is third in the Western Conference’s five-team Northwest Division, 14 1/2 games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder (46-16).