By Al Iannazzone/Newsday
Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks were riding high at the start of their Sunday matinee against Utah, but the fourth quarter was forgettable for both.
Porzingis was posterised by an emphatic slam by Rudy Gobert and then had his dunk attempt stopped by the big Frenchman. The Knicks didn’t stop much on the defensive end in the fourth.
The Knicks squandered a 13-point first-half lead and fell, 114-109, to the Jazz before a disappointed crowd at Madison Square Garden.
The Jazz shot 13-for-20 and outscored the Knicks 36-29 in the fourth.
Utah (4-2) had no trouble getting open shots throughout the fourth period as the Knicks continue to have defensive breakdowns. Down 106-101 in the final minute, Rodney Hood slipped behind the defense and threw down a George Hill feed.
Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony each scored 28 points to lead the Knicks (2-4).
Porzingis scored 14 points in the first 7:29 of the game. Derrick Rose had 16 points and eight assists.
Jazz forward Gordon Hayward had 28 points in his season debut. He missed the first five games with a fractured finger on his left hand.
Heyward was 14-for-14 on free throws. Hill had 23 points and nine assists.
With the Knicks clinging to an 80-78 lead to start the fourth, coach Jeff Hornacek had a curious lineup: Brandon Jennings, Justin Holiday, Mindaugus Kuzminskas, Lance Thomas and Kyle O’Quinn.
The Jazz scored seven straight points to go up 85-80, leading to a Knicks’ timeout.
Hornacek brought back starters Rose, Porzingis and Courtney Lee.
But after Lee missed a jumper, Shelvin Mack scored on the other end to give Utah a seven-point lead.
As the Knicks tried to cut into the lead, Rose and Lee had driving layups roll off the rim.
The Knicks cut it to 90-87 after a Lee three-pointer with 7:42 left. The Jazz extended its lead to 96-87 after back-to-back baskets by Hood, the second a three-pointer.
Rose attacked the basket and had two three-point plays over the next two minutes, helping the Knicks get within 100-95. But sloppy play on both ends of the floor put the Knicks in a nine-point hole again.
Hayward connected on an open jumper, and after a Lee turnover, a Hayward dunk gave Utah a 104-95 lead with 3:09 remaining.
After Anthony scored, Gobert dunked over Porzingis to make it 106-97. About a minute later, Gobert denied Porzingis’ dunk attempt.
The Knicks got off to a fast start for the second straight game. Rose-to-Porzingis was clicking early.
Porzingis scored 14 of the Knicks’ first 20 points. Rose assisted on four of Porzingis’ first five baskets.
When Porzingis wasn’t scoring, it was Anthony pouring it on. They both were 5-for-6 and totaled 24 of the Knicks’ first 26 points.
The Knicks led by 10 after one and pushed it to 42-29 with 7:42 left in the half after Kuzminskas’ three-pointer just before the shot clock expired.
But the lead evaporated less than five minutes into the third quarter. Gobert’s dunk with 7:25 left put Utah on top 62-60.
There were three more lead changes before the quarter ended with the Knicks holding a 80-78 lead.
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