In their first encounter the New York Knicks (20-8) took apart the Phoenix Suns (11-17) via the long ball. As a team they hit 12 threes and took control of the game from behind the arc. They are capable of doing that nightly as the leagues leader in three point makes. The Suns are the worst team in the league (40.5%) at defending the three.
A special case of the immovable object verses the matador.
"I think they are still going to get 20 threes up," said Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry about the shorthanded Knicks. "There wasn't really a disconnect (last game) you know, coaches in this league are really smart and they are going to put you in a position where you have to pick your poison."
Tonight's game will not feature two of those three point assassins in Raymond Felton and Carmelo Anthony who combined for seven of those three pointers in the game.
"I still think they are going to shoot threes," stated Gentry on the gameplan. "They shoot 30 a game. It doesn't matter who is out because Felton only shoots four a game, they still have other guys out there, and Melo shoots five a game."
Take away nine a game and there is still 20 more to defend and a team that shoots it at 39.3% on the season.
Limiting the rest of the cast is important as there are now more shots available for great shooters like J.R. Smith and Steve Novak to take advantage of and as Gentry stated this is a very deep team that beat the Miami Heat by 15 without their star earlier in the season.
In the end it is quite simple to Gentry, "It don't matter they are a great team." He stated before the game. "Obviously he (Carmelo) is a great player, but they do not win just because of everything that he does."
Suns Inactives: Diante Garrett (Coaches Decision)
Coach Mike Woodson on playing without Carmelo Anthony:
"Anytime you lose your best player, I don't know how long he is going to be out, there is a concern, but then again that happens throughout the course of a season. When key guys go out others have to step up."
More Woodson on playing the Suns:
"I like the make-up of their team. They have had their ups-and-downs, but then again my concern is being on the road making sure we have the opportunity to win. We have done that for the most part this season. It is not going to be an easy game by no means when you are missing your starting point guard and your starting three (or four) in the game tonight. We just have to go out there and see where we are."
Interesting Stat: 13 years and 34 days
That is the age difference between the two starting point guards tonight who were both members of the Suns early in their career before being traded off. Dragic found his way back. When Kidd made his NBA debut with the Dallas Mavericks the current Suns point guard was a mere 8 years and 6 months old. A bit of an experience edge to the Kidd.