PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns (44-29) shot, ran and dunked their way to a 112-88 victory on Friday night over the defensively uninterested New York Knicks (30-43). The win gave the Suns their sixth in a row, the second longest winning streak in the NBA, only behind the 16 straight by the San Antonio Spurs.
Suns coach Jeff Hornacek called the game their, “best overall win of the year.”
It truly was a dominant game from start to finish for the Suns. The Suns won every statistical category including a whopping 19 rebound edge on the Knicks led my Miles Plumlee’s 12 boards.
For the highlight of the game? Well, you can take your pick with that.
Any one of the multiple Plumlee dunks would be up for nomination — my vote would be his halfcourt reverse ally-opp from Eric Bledsoe, narrowly beating out his put-back one-handed slam with his off hand. Bledsoe’s clean block on the 7-foot-1 Tyson Chandler is not a bad option either. Or how about the lucky fan that hit hit a half court shot, winning $77,777? It was just that kind of night for the Suns.
Guard Goran Dragic got the Suns going early by scoring 18 first quarter points, hitting all three of his three point attempts. He finished the game with 32 points, and five stitches. He received the stitches above his eye after being on the wrong end of an accidental Chandler elbow late in the second quarter.
“We tell the guys that if you play hard, which Goran does, that your going to get hurt a few times,” Hornacek said. “And that is alright, there is nothing wrong with getting a couple knocks on your head.
“That is Goran, he ran off the court because I knew he wanted to get back into the game. He played a great game and got us off to a great start.”
Dragic hit seven of his first eight shots and credited a lazy Knicks defense for the hot start.
“They were not contested shots, so I just spot up and just shoot it. I think that every time they are going to do that then I am going to have a good game,” Dragic said.
The Suns broke the game open in the second quarter thanks to an 18-3 run to close out the first half, out-running and out-hustling a Knicks team that showed disinterest for most of the first half. A quick start to the second half gave the Suns a 32-point lead, their largest of the game.
Forward PJ Tucker was pleased with the complete performance tonight.
“I told the guys, let us put a game together,” Tucker said. “I feel like this is the first game that we played from start to finish a complete game.”
The Knicks started showing some interest late in the third and cut the lead down to 17 early in the fourth quarter before a Bledsoe three and a Dragic and-one layup quickly boosted the Suns lead and catapulted them to a 12-0 run.
Does Amare Stoudemire continue his resurgent play?
Stoudemire has returned to full health, and with that, has returned to being a good NBA player again. Early on, the former six-time All-Star and former Sun showed athleticism offensively, making a couple strong and physical moves to the basket in scoring eight points in the first half. The forward finished the game 19 points and six rebounds, his 12th straight game in double figures.
“You definitely want to win the game,” Stoudemire said on coming back to Phoenix. “On a positive note I saw my mom, nephew, cousins and friends. So on a positive note that was cool, but other than that I definitely wanted to get this win.”
Do the Suns contain Carmelo Anthony?
Yes. Anthony still got his points, 21, but was never a factor in the game. PJ Tucker and a Morris brother did a solid job of being physical with Melo every time he touched the ball on offense. The physical style of play seemed to get into Anthony’s head. At one point in the third quarter after a Anthony miss in front of the Suns bench, the Morris brothers — on the bench at the time — and Tucker were jawing at Anthony.
“He might be the best scorer in the NBA,” Tucker said. “I have been going against him since we were kids, so since then we have been battling. He goes so hard and I love going against him because he is such a competitive guy.”
Defensively, Anthony was pretty much non-existent. Multiple times he stood and allowed a player to drive by him, or a player to grab an offensive rebound. There is no doubt he is a marquee player in this league, but I am not seeing him being the best player on a championship team.
Can Markieff Morris continue to be the go-to player in the post?
Morris, like the rest of the Suns, was doing what he wanted on offense in the first half. The forward had 14 points at halftime and six rebounds; three were offensive and all of of those led to Suns points. Morris was showing his skill on his outside shot, hitting both of the three point attempts, and inside the paint tonight. The forward from Kansas finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and a technical, giving him 13 on the year. He will be suspended for a game when he reaches 16, so it is something to keep an eye on.