(Sports Network) - The Phoenix Suns will be out for a measure of revenge when they celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this afternoon against former employee Amare Stoudemire and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
The Suns hosted Stoudemire in his first game back in the desert on Jan. 7, but lost a 121-96 decision. Stoudemire had 23 points to burn his former team and spent the first eight years of his career with Phoenix, where he was a five- time All-Star. He then landed in New York following a sign-and-trade deal this past offseason, receiving a five-year pact worth nearly $100 million.
Phoenix has still won 10 of the past 14 matchups with the Knicks. It hasn't fared so well at MSG, however, losing two straight and six of the last nine contests there.
The Suns will begin a five-game road trip Monday against the Knicks, Cavs, Wizards, Pistons and Sixers, and are 6-12 away from the Valley of the Sun this season. They have won two in a row overall and three of four games since losing seven of eight contests, and are coming off Friday's 115-111 home triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers. Steve Nash hit the go-ahead three late in the game and collected 23 points, 13 assists, and six rebounds.
Veteran Grant Hill added 21 points and seven rebounds and surpassed 16,000 career points, while Vince Carterhad 17 in a winning effort. Hill was back after missing two games due to injury.
"We were just playing together, making shots, making plays and regardless of mistakes, continued to play through it and fight hard for each other," Carter said after the Suns recorded their third straight win at home.
Carter is nine points shy of becoming the eighth active player and 41st in league history with 20,000 career points. Phoenix is trying to match a season high with its third consecutive win today.
New York has lost two straight and three of four games, including Friday's 93-83 setback to the lowlySacramento Kings. Stoudemire led the Knicks with 25 points and 13 rebounds and has scored at least 20 points in 24 consecutive games, the most since Patrick Ewing did it in 28 straight contests from January 25-March 27, 1990.
"It was tough to get things going out there," said Stoudemire. "We got in late last night, didn't get much sleep so our rhythm was a little bit off."
Toney Douglas had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, whose effort allowed the Kings to snap a 12-game road losing streak. The Knicks are 18-5 at home on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and may not have forward Danilo Gallinari Monday due to a sprained left knee. He is listed as probable.
The Knicks are 10-8 in the Big Apple this season.