When the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns face off, typically you expect a barnburner with both teams scoring at least 110 points. That was not the case Wednesday night when the Suns took a five-game losing streak into Madison Square Garden. Had the two teams played two overtime periods, they still might not have gotten 110. However, the Phoenix defense held the Knicks to 32 percent shooting, Grant Hill limited Carmelo Anthony to 12 points on 5-22 shooting and the Suns defeated New York 91-88.
Coming into the game, coach Alvin Gentry shook things up with the starting lineup, trying to create some sort of change. Instead of Jared Dudley and Channing Frye, he inserted Ronnie Price and rookie Markieff Morris as starters. Steve Nash was even listed as the starting shooting guard, rather than at the point. The reason? It was an attempt to get the second unit some firepower.
While the offense was not spectacular, the production was more even from starting to second unit. The bench scored 37 points (although Morris played only five minutes and Price only 14), led by Shannon Brown's 14 and Channing Frye's three three-pointers.
The first quarter was very even when the Suns finished with a one-point lead. There were numerous ties and lead changes. After the first half, the lead was three points. For the rest of the game, the Suns maintained a small lead most of the way.
Near the end of the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, Shannon Brown scored five points, including a three-pointer from the corner that hit the rim, grazed the top of the backboard and then fell in to give the Suns an 85-80 lead. New York fought back, hitting a pair of threes, one by Carmelo Anthony and another by Iman Shumpert and pulled within one, but Steve Nash iced the game with six free throws.
Nash had another huge game with 26 points and 11 assists on 9-12 shooting. Marcin Gortat had another double-double, scoring 11 to go with 12 rebounds.
For New York, Amare Stoudemire led the team in scoring with 23 points, but shot 7-22. Shumpert had 20 points, including three threes.
Next up for the Suns are the Boston Celtics in Boston on Friday.