Who are these Guys?? Knicks cool off SunsDecember 2, 2009
NEW YORK– First and foremost, it’s a great feeling to write about a Knicks win, but who the hell were those guys last night? The visiting Suns — with the NBA’s best record — made their first and final trip of the year to New York, and were quickly stunned by the dishing, swishing and defense of the New York Knicks.
I am still elated from the basketball I saw last night from this, more often than not, hapless team. The Knicks scored a season high 39 points in the first quarter while shooting a scorching hot 50 percent from the field. They went up by double digits in the middle of the second quarter and never looked back. The rooster, Danilo Gallinari, shot 6 for 12 from beyond the arc on his way to 27 points and 10 rebounds. The 21-year-old Italian transplant showed an amazing array of versatility playing tough defense — he blocked 2 shots — and being offensively aggressive throughout the game.
“It means a lot when you play against a team that plays your game and is at the top of the list, because they have the best record,” Gallinari said. “So it’s great for us.”
Coach Mike D’Antoni has shortened his rotation to eight players in the past four games and the team has responded well. Everyone seems to know their role and the bench players are adapting to the flow of the game easier when they know how many minutes they are going to play. Last night was no different except for the last quarter when D’Antoni emptied his bench with a 30-point lead.
“As a matter of fact, I didn’t know how to conduct myself the last five minutes,” he said. ” I didn’t know who to put in, when to put them in. It’s been a while.”
Larry Hughes, who played a lot of backup point guard in the first half, distributed like a starting floor general with 12 assists, one short of his career high. The starting point guard, Chris Duhon, had 5 points and 5 assists in 26 minutes of action. David Lee, who was matched up against former teammate Channing Frye, added 24 points. Al Harrington continued to be the best scorer off the bench in the NBA serving Phoenix with 22 points. Also off the bench, Jared Jefferies had his best all-around game this season with 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocked shots.
The Knicks scored 100 points by the 3rd quarter and cruised to their easiest win of the season. They held the highest scoring team in the league to 99 points. It was the only time this year the Suns failed to eclipse the century-mark.
Former two-time MVP Steve Nash had 20 points and 8 dimes for the Suns who were coming off a four-game winning streak, beating those teams by an average of 21.3 points.
“Terrible performance,” Nash said. “I’m embarrassed. Obviously just a disastrous effort. We just have to wash it away and pick it up tomorrow.”
Phoenix who failed to make the playoffs last year after consecutive trips, have played well under head coach Alvin Gentry. Gentry, who served as D’Antoni’s assistant during his days in Phoenix, replaced Terry Porter late last year, after trying to make the Suns a more defense-oriented team. When asked about the Suns recent resurrection in the west, Coach Gentry said, “I’m doing what Mike taught me.”
Game notes- Eddy Curry missed his fourth game after bruising his left knee last week, his return is questionable for tonight’s game in Orlando. Phoenix had previously won 9 out its 11 games versus New York. The Knicks scored 71 points by halftime, a feat not reached since they played Phily at the start of the season.