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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 29, 2018
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah  Attendance: 18,306

Jazz, Knicks struggle to solve woes

According to STATS
According to STATS

New York Knicks at Utah Jazz

  1. The Knicks swept the season series over the Jazz in 2017-18, winning two games that were both decided by five points or less. New York shot 48.8 percent (20-for-41) from three-point range against Utah last season, the team's highest mark against any team.
  2. New York enters this matchup losers of six in a row and 13 of 15 overall. During this 15-game stretch (since November 27), the Knicks have allowed an NBA-high 118.4 points per game, while allowing opponents to shoot 48.8 percent from the field.
  3. The Jazz lost to 76ers, 114-97, shooting 38.4 percent from the field. Utah shoots 50.4 percent in wins, compared to 42.3 percent in losses. That 8.1-percent difference in field-goal percentage in wins compared to losses is the largest of any team in the NBA this season.
  4. Noah Vonleh has recorded three double-doubles in a row for the Knicks, the second time this season he has done so. Vonleh has 12 double-doubles this season after recording just eight double-doubles over his first four seasons combined.
  5. Donovan Mitchell went 3-for-10 from three in the team's loss against Philadelphia. Entering games on Friday, Mitchell's three-point percentage of 29.2 percent ranks last among the 41 players who have attempted at least 175 three-pointers this season.
  6. Enes Kanter has posted a negative plus/minus in 14 consecutive games for the Knicks. When Kanter is on the floor this season, the Knicks have been outscored by 11.6 points per 100 possessions -- when Kanter is off the floor, New York has been outscored by 3.9 points per 100 possessions.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Finding consistency is still a work in progress for Utah heading into 2019.

Persistent questions face the Jazz on both ends of the court heading into Saturday's clash with the New York Knicks.

Utah has fit the definition of roller-coaster team to this point in the season. The Jazz have shown a tendency to follow elite defensive play with flat efforts and alternate sizzling shooting performances with acute offensive struggles.

It is truly feast or famine with Utah this season. The Jazz proved it once again in Thursday's 117-94 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

They allowed the Sixers to shoot 50 percent from the field and were outscored 48-38 in the paint. The Sixers generally got great looks at the basket for four quarters and made Utah pay.

"We weren't on the same level defensively that we've been (over) the last month," Jazz center Rudy Gobert said. "We had some bad stretches and they made some big runs. We couldn't recover from it."

Utah (17-19) didn't do itself any favors on offense. The Jazz shot just 38.4 percent from the field and started slowly in each half. They missed nine of their first 10 shots in the first quarter. Then, in the third quarter, Utah missed seven of nine shots and committed three turnovers in the first half of the quarter.

It allowed the Sixers to build a double-digit lead they never relinquished.

"They're a very talented team offensively and they know who they are," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "They were able to get the things they wanted against our defense."

The Knicks (9-27) are also searching for answers as 2018 winds down. New York has won just two games in December and carries a six-game losing streak into Salt Lake City after losing back-to-back games against Milwaukee on Tuesday and Thursday.

In those two games, the Bucks won by an average of 15 points while scoring 110.5 points. Knicks coach David Fizdale shook up the starting lineup on Thursday, replacing Enes Kanter with second-year center Luke Kornet, and the move gave them an early spark.

Kornet stretched the defense a bit, going 7 of 11 from 3-point range. He finished with 23 points, matching his career high.

It could open the door for Kornet, who played 10 games in the G-League earlier this season, to have a larger role going forward.

"That's what I was hoping for, a guy that was going to space the floor for us," Fizdale told the New York Post on Thursday. "He opened up the floor for us to be able to attack the paint."

If Kornet is able to create more space, it could help Kevin Knox continue to blossom.

The 6-foot-9 forward ranks in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding among NBA rookies. Knox has averaged 17.5 points and 6.1 rebounds in December after scoring in double figures just five times in November.

The Knicks swept the season series with the Jazz last season. Utah has won three of its last four home games with New York, however, averaging 104.0 points and shooting 45.9 percent from the field.

Gobert has been a big factor in many of those games. In his last five games against the Knicks, the Jazz center has averaged 18.4 points on 70.2 percent shooting, 11.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in 36.2 minutes per game.

Updated December 28, 2018

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