They got one.
The depleted Knicks saved face last night, finding an outfit in more disarray than themselves as they salvaged the final game of the 5-game West Coast trip in beating the Jazz 90-83 at Energy Solutions Arena in an ugly but beautiful victory.
Without Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler for the third straight game, 40-year-old Kurt Thomas played with a newly discovered bone spur in his right foot and a feisty attitude as the Knicks played a gritty fourth quarter. They come home 1-4 on the trip after winning for the first time in Utah since 2005 and the locker room was nothing short of giddy.
“It was a great win for our ballclub, to come to Utah, it’s hard to win here,’’ said coach Mike Woodson. “Playing a good team at home, to be as shorthanded as we were and it’s a tough place to play with the altitude, we just stepped up and made plays. It will be a nice ride home.’’
Thomas was awarded the game ball when it looked like he wouldn’t suit up because of fear he had a broken foot. X-rays an hour before the game showed just a bone spur. He will still undergo an MRI today.
In a throwback performance out of his first Knicks stint, Thomas played a season-high 26 minutes and spent the second half yapping at the fans, defending the post with zeal and even making a couple of mid-range baskets. He had 3 blocks, six points and 3 rebounds.
“We gave him the game ball,’’ Woodson said. ‘He deserved it. He hadn’t played 26 minutes all year. A true pro. We’ve always said that. And tonight we don’t win without him.”
The Knicks return home to face Orlando tomorrow and Anthony and Chandler are expected to be back. But Thomas, who injured the foot in Portland, has been a nice stopgap, playing in pain in LA and again last night.
They got one.