New York Knicks 98, Phoenix Suns 96 — Not enough

The amount of adversity the Suns had to fight through Monday against the Knicks is enough for an entire month, let alone one game.

They dealt with losing Markieff Morris early in the second quarter after he picked up his second technical foul in a matter of minutes. P.J. Tucker picked up two early fouls, which led to Carmelo Anthony scoring 13 first-quarter points. Tucker was in foul trouble most of the night along with Miles Plumlee, Marcus Morris and Gerald Green. Speaking of Green, the Suns also had to find points outside of Frye and him after they combined to go 5-for-28 from the field with Green missing all seven of his three point tries.

With all that said, Phoenix had a five-point lead with 4:50 to go and were able to force overtime before ultimately falling short in a 98-96 loss to New York at Madison Square Garden. The loss dropped the Suns to 21-16 and ended their five-game road trip with a 1-4 record.

The Knicks (15-22) led rather comfortably for the majority of the game and took a seven point lead into the fourth quarter when Leandro Barbosa got hot for the Suns by scoring the first eight points of the quarter. After scoring 14 of his 21 in the fourth, Barbosa’s two free throws with 1.2 left thanks to a controversial foul call forced the game into overtime.

In the overtime period, shots were just not falling for the Suns. Goran Dragic kept the Suns alive in the first three quarters and scored a team high 28 points, but he couldn’t get any of his drives to the hoop to fall. Playing 48 minutes on the fifth game of a seven night road trip might have played a factor into those tired legs — so did a tweaked ankle. Green and Frye each missed some good looks to fittingly end a night that was just not meant to be for either of them.

Anthony had his usual night of scoring points (29) with a high shot count (24). He did control the boards grabbing 17 balls of the glass for the double-double, but  outside of this dominant first quarter the Suns did a nice job of controlling Anthony. Most of that has to do with Tucker being smart with his fouls and being able to remain in the game. Anthony had a couple chances at the end of regulation and overtime to put the game away, but Tucker’s pesky defense forced misses and gave the Suns extra chances. Felton had a nice game scoring 19 points on 8-16 shooting.

Let’s answer the pregame questions to see how the Suns fared in the keys to the game.

Can Phoenix keep New York off the offensive glass?

The Suns actually did a pretty good job keeping the Knicks off the offensive glass. They held them to 12 offensive rebounds, which is close to their average of 10.6. Kenyon Martin was the one guy who killed them on the glass grabbing four offensive rebounds, but other than that the Suns did a solid job.

Can Phoenix score points in the paint?

I guess we can say they did. They scored 36 points, but it came on 18 of 46 shooting. Plumlee had 12 points, but he never really solidified his offensive presence down low. Most of those points in the paint came on Barbosa and Dragic drives that came in the fourth quarter and led to the comeback that almost won the game for them. The Suns were controlling the game during those brief moments of being able to drive and finish. Unfortunatly for them, they could not maintain that pace for longer periods of time.

Will Amare and J.R. make a difference?

Not too much. Stoudemire finished with nine points and seven rebounds, solid numbers coming off the bench. His biggest impact came in the final two minutes of the third quarter when the Knicks gave it to him in the post three straight times. Stoudemire scored five of a possible six by going to the line twice and finishing an easy short shot. Other than that, his impact was minimal. Smith finished with a quiet 10 points and his biggest impact came early in the second quarter when he induced Morris to commit his second technical foul and his ejection.

Tags: Carmelo Anthony Goran Dragic New York Knicks Phoenix Suns

  • foreveris2long

    Someone has to teach Green to balance his shot attempts with some in the paint attempts. There is nothing wrong with being cold but with his athleticism it is imperative he gets to the rack a number of times throughout the night. Draw a foul please.Ditto Frye. Slump killer Lakers will arrive just in time on Wednesday to cure the Suns woes.

  • Zack B.

    I was at the game tonight and boy was it stressful. Of course we play one of our worst games of the season when I’m at the game. Barbosa was HUGE. I was like one of 3 Suns fans in the arena lol. I was hoping for a big dunk from Green and he showed us just that. I also hoped for overtime. Very disappointed because we had so many chances to put it away (2 threes that shouldn’t have been taken by Dragic and Frye, go to the rack!), but hey, I got my money’s worth. For some reason Plumlee was slandered the most by Knicks fans. Weird. I’m not concerned about this 1-4 road trip, every game was down to the wire. Good to hear that Bledsoe will only be out about a month. I look forward to the same matchup next year.

  • Ash

    The game was rough to watch in person. Green and Frye had an off night but this game would’ve been an easy win had it not been for the questionable officiating. There were instances where they clearly took the Suns away from gaining any sort of momentum

  • Luka

    Its still the same old Suns at the end of the day. When they need easy points, there’s no one to go to late in the game. They can’t dump it downlow to anyone.

    Markieff Morris has let his team down. It’s gone beyond not playing hard. The guy just doesn’t get it. He’s nearly seven feet and can’t defend his own shadow. He has no low post game. Doesn’t rebound whatsoever. All he does really is shoot mid range jumpers. Suns gotta jettison him.

    Let’s at least get a PF who has some athleticism and does the dirty work. Relegate Frye to the bench, unless of course he isn’t dealt himself.

    On a positive note though Barbosa at least kept the Suns in it by attacking the glass. Hopefully he didn’t tweak his shoulder too badly.

  • Anonymous

    We get a fluke call by the refs to go into OT and still lose the game. Let the tanking commence. This team is just not the same without bledsoe.

  • Scott

    Assuming LB gets his contract, I’d prefer to see him start with Dragic and have Green coming off the bench, running the personnel more like when they were when Bledsoe was available.

    FWIW, I noticed that Plumlee hit his free throws down the stretch. He’s playing well for being basically a first year guy.

    I’m hoping that this latest adverse turn will help give McDonough cover for making at least one trade.

  • Dave:f32

    I agree with Luka, on point! Markieff is becoming more and more of a disappointment with each game. I would say the same about Marcus but he hit a couple shots and appears lightyears more mature than his petty bro.

    Frye should wear a dress and high heels cuz thats a waste of 6’10″ frame that he doesnt want to bang down low and jack up jumpers, and pass up 3pters in the clutch to tie!!!

    Barbosa and Dragic showed alot of heart, but poor Dragic man, cuz he gives his all! If only his teammates would give their all this team would be very special. Len looked like Doofus out there.

    Im a Frye fan but im disappointed cuz i have seen his game when hes beastin’ in the post and dunking on guys, and to see him be a celebrated circus nimwit that takes 3s just bites!

    The offense looks stagnant, as Hornacek needs to come up with some relevant modern day schemes. The defense, or lackthereof, is same ol’ Suns Days.

    There were alot of questionable calls that went against the Suns but they had a 5pt lead with 4min to go in regulation.

    It wasnt solely Bledsoe that they had early success. Teams were sleeping on the Suns in the first half of the season.

    Newsflash Suns: teams are not sleeping on you guys anymore from here on out. You have to bring it every night or it is a tank season.

  • Dave:f32

    Im afraid of a Dragic burnout with how much this team is so dependent on him to score and facilitate. If we dont have Zdragic, we dont have much of anything let alone a team. Hope Suns take care of Dragic when it comes his time to get paid

  • hawki

    Goran was magnificent but had little help….Barbosa can score but can’t find the open man when shut down in the lane the way Bledsoe can.

    Agree with Forever…Green has to be able (and willing) to get to the rack when his shot isn’t falling.

    I’m sure McD sees all this & has a few different plans percolating in his devious (in a good way) brain.

  • Rengaw

    I’m sticking this loss primarily on Green….not because he was off shooting but because his shot selection was so awful. AND, go drive to the hoop once in a while….especially when you are not hitting the outside jumper.

    Ever since Green hit that game winner a few games back, he has been throwing up some really bad shots. Doc Rivers calls those erratic shots at the end of close games “hero shots”. I can see why so many teams let Green go with games like last night.

  • sunsn7

    I can see the Suns trading Markieff. He had early season success, thought he had everything figured out and stopped working hard.

    I agree with Markieff’s critics. He just doesn’t get it.

    Oh and Coach? Time to do your best Jerry Sloan impersonation in practice. This team is not playing as hard or as with as much enthusiasm as they were earlier in the year. That is on the rookie coach.

  • http://none Sillmarillion

    I just watched the Gerald Green dunk again. Did you guys know/notice that he has only 4 fingers on his right hand?

  • EBJM

    Five Knicks grabbed more rebounds than Frye.

    Everyone complained about Amare’s rebounding in Phoenix yet in less than twenty minutes and on two bad knees he out-rebounds Frye who played twice as many minutes.

    To the guy asking about Terrance Jones. I seriously doubt the Rockets listened to anyone asking about Terrance Jones. He has shown Skills since replacing Asik in the line-up back in the 2nd week of the season.

    Good news is there is still plenty of time to boost the ping pong ball count.

    It was exciting while it lasted but lets draft a star this summer.

  • BCrayZ

    @Scott -

    I actually agree with this.

    Never agreed with your dislike of Alvin, when he was our coach, but I agree with you that Gogi (Dragic) needs Leandrinho’s (Barbosa’s) help.

    Suns were always able to have LB as their “go-to scorer” to finish the game. That was until they traded him for Babby’s client Hedo. From then on, we have been looking for that illusive closer in the Pelicans’ Eric or in Mayo. But now the Blur is back. Once he gets to practice here, he will get that deadly shot from down town to fall. Then he will be doubly dangerous, even more so than our own Eric. Suns have not been starting their games well. What Gogi misses in that starting unit is another slash brother & he would have that in the Brazilian Blur. This loss is on coach Jeff. When a player scores 14 in Q4 (including the last pair in regulation time), he deserves the opportunity to keep it going in over time. Even more important, the team that fought back deserves this. Jeff just trotted out his starting unit. This same unit has been rolled over (without Eric), game after game. What made him think that they would be successful in over time? Gogi (Dragic) & Chinga (Frye) & Leandrinho (Barbosa) have had huge past success when on the floor at the same time (“that killer bench unit). When GG14 missed all 7 of his 3-point shots, he did not make up for it closer to the hoop. Only 2 of his 9 shorter shots fell. Deep scoring has eluded Barbosa, thus far, as he also made zero. With none of his 3 shots beyond the arc falling, he drove to the hoop. Made 8 of 12 of his 2-point shots, to finish all together 8 of 15 (over 53%) for the game, as he appears to be getting his timing back. Suns had not a single other player even make half of his shots & all other players not named Barbosa shot 25 for 77 (less than 30%) for the game. Gogi was one of the best but still less than 41%. Frye was even worse, yet I’m sure they would both get better shot opportunities if the D on the other team had to worry about containing our Brazilian Blur. More than that, he went to the line. GG 14 did not attempt a single foul shot. With LB’s drives, came some easy points from the foul line. Five of his six (over 83%) of his foul shots were made. Most importantly, GG 14 was a minus 8 (+/-), whereas Barbosa’s plus 2 was not matched by anyone in the starting unit. Jeff is a smart guy who, to his credit, gave LB over 30 minutes in the game. But he gave GG 14 well over 40. Jeff must make the necessary adjustment. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Lance

    Gogi was do it hard but can’t do it alone. He is a bit exhausted, going so hard last 5 days.

  • matheus croos
  • CART jeff

    The future for the suns are Plumlee and Green. They need to develop a go to zone/area where they shoot 60%. Then they use ther talents/footwork to get in the identified area.

    Both of them never take the same shot twice. Again put Pippen tape in for Green and have him learn. Plumlee, square up and shoot.

  • Emanuel

    like so many of you have said here, Markieff needs to go, the guy JUST DOES NOT GET IT… many wide open layups has this guy missed in the last couple of games that could’ve easily gotten the team W’s? This team desperately needs a power forward that can score inside, regardless of wether or not we have Bledsoe…..Package the Morri bros, with frye and lets get some LOVE…..while many of you say Love cant defend, lets not forget that Love is an excellent rebounder, and if you cant rebound? you cant defend…..

  • http://none Go Phx

    Barbosa was injured at the end, they said, couldn’t come in.

  • Dave:f32

    “A possible trade scenario could be the Bulls sending Noah to the Suns in exchange for two first round picks, Emeka Okafor and one of the Morris twins , Markieff or Marcus. The Bulls and Suns have roughly a month left to pull off this trade as the trade deadline comes to a close on Feb. 20.”

  • Dave:f32

    Another trade scenario that has been mentioned frequently is the Thaddeus Young – Evan Turner trade

  • Dave:f32

    “The Grantland writer says if Phoenix wants to go back to “tanking” and improving their draft positioning — as was presumed to be the plan before the season began — the team can explore options for trading point guard Goran Dragic.

    Lowe says many playoff-contending teams could use Dragic’s services as a backup point guard, but that his salary may ultimately be too high for such a role. The writer mentions the struggling Detroit Pistons and says the Suns could ask for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but that exchanging Dragic may come at too big of a salary cap hit for Detroit.”

  • Dave:f32

    On BSOTS poster:

    ” Simply put it means would you bet on Bledsoe playing at least one more game this season or not …
    Under 0.5 means 0 games
    Over 0.5 means at least one game.

    I hope it helps.

    I’ve read that he’s scheduled to be back from his injury in less than 6 weeks so I don’t really get the point of our bloggers asking if he’ll play one more game in a Suns uni this season?! O_o
    Unless people think he’d be traded before February 20th which is hiiiiighly unlikely IMHO.

    Watch the Suns make a trade soon (within a month) for Thaddeus Young or Pau Gasol as soon as they have reassessed Bledsoe’s recovery in a couple of weeks. I definitely can see Mook + Keef + Indy (or Minny) 2014 pick for Young or even Okafor + Indy pick for Gasol. It would all depend on where our record/ranking will be right before the All-Star break. If the Suns are above 50% in the win-column I could definitely see a trade coming.

    I had the Gortat and Scola trades right couple of weeks before they eventually happened last summer so, as we say in French, “never 2 without 3” !

    Cheers ;)

    by Javier Pastore on 01.14.14 11:24am
    up reply

  • Dave:f32

    GG14 was 7 for 33 FGs in the two games after hitting the game-winner in Minny! 7-for-friggin-33 in 2 games!!! Wth

  • Scott

    Green is a streaky shooter, and the Morris twins are not dependably prepared and focused for games. All three have been on my trade list from the start of the season. That is, the main idea has been to trade the twins, and if appropriate use Green to balance the numbers.

    To me, Charlotte is an obvious possible trading partner. It’s said that Jordan is tired of losing and is planning to buy his way into the playoffs this year. Players like the twins and Green could actually help his squad make the playoffs, because the Cats are desperate for perimeter shooting and scoring from PF.

    Going by the contract numbers you could trade Okafor, Green, Morris, and Morris for Ben Gordon, MKG, Cody Zeller, and Jeff Taylor. (Charlotte could then turn the expiring contract of Okafor into a max offer for Gordon Hayward, further solidifying their roster.)

    Despite the poor recent play, both twins still have above average PER, and even counting his recent dry spell Green is shooting 37% from 3. All three players are on modest contracts for this season and the next. Statistics-wise and contract-wise, they might be appealing to a team willing to move some of their developmental players in order to win now.

    If Barbosa has success playing the dual combo guard role with Dragic, it could brighten the resumes of the rest of the crew … and hopefully the stars will align for a trade before the deadline.

  • BCrayZ

    Only reason the twins have above average PERs is because PER does not take defense into account.

    This (defensive vacuum) is their great down fall. It is why their plus-minus (+/-) are so horrid even when they shoot well.

    Will Barbosa even be able to play? According to Go Phx, he was hurt at the end of our last game. Hope that he recovers fast. Need to move him into the starting unit so that he can play with Gogi & Frye, at least until Eric comes back & has his game legs. This will will improve the games of each of them. Suns will have an easy time getting off to a fast start (beep beep) in the game. Enough using up all of our energy digging us out of each hole. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Dave:f32

    @BCrayZ –

    Pay Go Phx no mind! That’s just Go Phx’s wishful thinking (he doesn’t like LB). (can you actually believe there are supposed fans out there that dont like LB?! i know, right!)

    He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Barbosa was shaken up by that last foul in reg against the Knicks. The one Kenyon Martin tried arm removal. Ironically, earlier in the game Barbosa helped KMart to his feet when they fell on the floor during a play sequence where Barbosa scored.

    LB had a shoulder X-ray that came out negative for injury. He was probably pretty sore in-game to not continue in OT…

    I always wondered about the +/- being so bad for the twins when they are scoring good in games. Thanks for the explanation, BCrayZ!

    Ur right about the importance to a fast start for the Suns in games. Veteran leadership is vital and LB serves many purposes by starting and finishing games.

  • Dave:f32

    Plus, to say Archie Goodwin can learn from LB and begin to realize what is expected of the rookie for the future role he will play is priceless would be an understatement! AG needs to observe how LB gets his so AG can get some ideas of how to formulate that drive to his game.

  • BCrayZ

    Dave -

    Thank you very much.

    Was disappointed he wasn’t able to play in tonight’s game. Barbosa could have been huge in over timr. With zero baskets made, even though it was only a 2 point game.

    MUST start & finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!