Written by William Lee
Top five highest pace Phoenix Suns spearheaded by their two headed point guard monster that is Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe scorched the Knicks early. The duo combined to score a dozen of the first 15 points, in an early 15-4 run capped off by a Bledsoe steal and dunk that brought down boos from the matinee Madison Square Garden crowd. Bledsoe finished the game with a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
From this point on New York mounted a monster comeback, going on a 23-10 run bridging the gap from mid first quarter to early second to take the lead 27-25. Jose Calderon kept New York in the game, bailing the Knicks out of poor possessions going nowhere by beating the shot clock a couple of times. Calderon scored eight of his 21 points in the first quarter, doing most of his damage from beyond the arc, making five three-pointers in the game. It was the play of the bench that propelled New York into the lead with yet another lackluster start by the starters. Jason Smith did most of the hard lifting, coming off the bench to score seven points in five minutes of play in the first quarter.
After the slow start from the Knicks’ starters, Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. redeemed themselves in the second quarter, scoring a combined 15 points in the period. Anthony collected his only his second double-double of the season with 25 points and 11 rebounds. The teams went back and forth, exchanging leads five times, and being tied up eight times.
Markieff Morris scored ten straight points early in the third, scoring a dozen total for the period, and 19 in total for the game. Smith for all his heroics early on in the game started to shoot too much, and started seeking his own shot instead of letting the game come to him, going 1/6 in the third quarter. After his hot start, Smith finished the game scoring only 11 points on 14 attempts.
Phoenix went on an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter, holding New York scoreless close to four minutes. With the Suns leading 75-68, New York responded with a quick 6-0 run in a span of a minute to cut the deficit to one point 75-74. New York would get within one possession three more times in the final period, a couple of times from bigSamuel Dalembert slam dunks.
But it was P.J. Tucker who made the two biggest plays of the game for the Suns. A tough minded defensive player, who made Carmelo Anthony work for his points all night, grabbed a huge offensive rebound with 1:53 left in the game giving Phoenix another 24 seconds to run off the clock with the Knicks still within range 92-86. Isaiah Thomas held the ball and watched shot clock tick down, making his move late, and drilled a cold blooded three, giving Phoenix a nine point lead with 1:35 remaining, 95-86. Tucker then drew an offensive foul from Anthony as he made his spin move in the post, essentially ending the game as New York neglected to foul quickly enough. Phoenix continues the Knicks’ misery, defeating New York 99-90.