SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Collin Sexton scored a season-high 26 points, Lauri Markannen punctuated his return to the court with 23 points and the Utah Jazz beat the New York Knicks 117-113 on Wednesday night.

“I was just reading the game and just picking and choosing what they gave me. Don’t try to overdrive or get too far in the lane,” Sexton said. “Just play. Don’t try to overthink.”

Sexton said he felt more pressure to lead the team after Keyonte George left the court just four minutes into the game because of a sprained ankle.

“Once Key came out, Coach (Will Hardy) wanted me to facilitate the game ... and he knows I’m going to give it 110% each and every night,” Sexton said.

After missing eight games because of a strained left hamstring, Markkanen scored both inside and on the perimeter and was only slowed by a minutes restriction. In 25 minutes, he went 7 for 13 from the field, had four 3s and eight rebounds.

“I knew I'd be going in short stints, so I tried to stay aggressive and get me going early," Markkanen said. "But yeah, felt good to see a couple shots go in and be out there with my teammates.”

Talen Horton-Tucker scored 13 of his 15 points for Utah in the fourth quarter, mostly coming in a 16-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters.

“They extended their defense a little bit. It changed and we just tried to fight it with our aggressiveness on offense. That group played really hard on both ends,” Horton-Tucker said.

Julius Randle had 32 points and 12 rebounds for New York, but only scored on two free throws in the fourth quarter. He topped 30 points for the third time in the last four games but was forced to be a passer down the stretch.

Jalen Brunson scored 23 points and Donte Divincenzo added 20 for the Knicks. They have lost three in a row on the road and face four more road games on this trip.

“You could say shots are not falling, whatever," Brunson said. "We got to control what we can control and that just starts with hustle on the defensive side of the ball. We just got to be better."

The Jazz led 106-89 before the Knicks made a furious comeback to close to 115-112.

“We did a good job of not quitting to the end and almost made a comeback,” Brunson said.

Josh Hart and Brunson both missed 3s to tie it.

“That was sort of like the story of the game. You’re going to have nights like that, and I thought we created a lot of good shots,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said after watching his team shoot 9 of 39 from 3-point range.

Kelly Olynyk got the second rebound, was fouled and made two free throws to wrap it up.

In his first start of the season, Sexton had seven assists, while Olynyk had nine points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as Utah stopped a skid of three lopsided losses in a row.

“We’ve had a lot of tough games, but tonight their attention to detail defensively was very good," Hardy said. “We made Jalen Brunson really work tonight. That was a big highlight for us, trying to change the rhythm of the game a little bit with him and not be so reactionary.”


Knicks: At Phoenix on Friday night.

Jazz: At Portland on Thursday night.



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