SUNS 91 KNICKS 88 F | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
Most fans would expect an offensive showdown between the Knicks and Suns but on Wednesday night both teams failed to reach the century mark. Phoenix escaped New York with a 91-88 victory, improving to 5-9 while the Knicks dropped to 6-8 on the season. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Suns held a three-point lead, which set the stage for a thrilling finish down the stretch.
Trailing 78-71 at the 3:12 mark of the final quarter, rookie Iman Shumpert connected on back-to-back jumpers to close the gap to just three points. After two perimeter misses from the Suns, Nash ended up with the rock with 1:27 on the clock and sunk a fadeaway shot to extend the road team’s lead to 80-75.
Carmelo Anthony fought through the lane to register a big career bucket as he surpassed the 15,000 point milestone. Shumpert buried another long bomb with 25.2 seconds on the clock and New York faced an 85-83 deficit. The Knicks were forced into the foul game, attempting to extend the contest. Suns point guard Steve Nash calmly hit all of his free throw attempts and despite a three-pointer from Anthony with 6.1 seconds remaining in the game, New York could not snatch the home win.
The Knicks outrebounded the Suns 54-38 and reached the charity stripe 30 times on Wednesday night.
“We are making it tough on our two scorers with a lot of traffic. We have to do a better job earlier getting them easier shots. We are depending on them to score for us. We have to make the offensive smoother. We have to be more aggressive attacking the rim, more penetration.” -- Iman Shumpert
Amar’e Stoudemire was aggressive from the start and finished with a team-high 23 points against his former team. The Knicks power forward also dished four assists and hit 9-of-10 attempts at the free throw line. Landry Fields also enjoyed a nice outing by scoring 17 points, grabbing six boards, and dishing out four dimes.
As mentioned above, Shumpert made some timely shots in the late stages to give New York life. Against a future Hall of Fame point guard, the rookie scored 12 of his 20 points in the final stanza by connecting on 2-of-3 shots from beyond the arc and 5-of-7 from the floor. Shumpert also played all 12 minutes of the fourth period.
The Knicks head back to Madison Square Garden Training Center tomorrow afternoon. On Friday, New York hosts Milwaukee and Anthony’s former team, the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night at the Garden.