by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
After building a ten-point lead over the first five minute against the Suns during yesterday’s matinee game, the Knicks looked like they were on their way to an easy win. By the end of the first half, New York was up 20 and the second half was looking more and more like it was going to be a formality. Instead, New York got comfortable in the and allowed Phoenix to cut the lead to single-digits, giving the Garden faithful a scare in the fourth.
The Knicks got lazy defensively, which certainly won’t go over well with Mike Woodson, and the Suns took advantage. In the third, they were given a glimpse of hope and had a chance to cut the lead to ten in the final minute of the quarter. Instead, Marcin Gortat was called for an offensive foul and the Knicks responded by scoring the next five points to take an 89-72 lead into the final 12 minutes. The Suns opened the fourth with a 13-4 run capped by a Jared Dudley three-pointer that made it a seven-point game. New York responded with a 6-0 run but couldn’t put Phoenix away for good. With 26 seconds left, Shannon Brown hit a layup to make the score 103-99 and what should have been a blowout turned into a headache for New York. J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler fortunately hit their free throws in the waning seconds to seal the game.
— Rasheed Wallace was ejected 84 seconds into the game. Welcome back, for real, Sheed.
— New York is now 18-1 in home games under Woodson.
— Melo scored 34, Ray Felton had 23, 7 dimes and 0 turnovers and Chandler finished with 15 points and 13 boards.
— Marcin Gortat scored 18 and grabbed 10 boards and Brown scored 17.
— Phoenix is 1-4 on their current road trip.
As a Knicks fan, I’d like to officially welcome all Lakers fans to the Mike D’Antoni era. Get used to this, you’ll be seeing quite a bit of it. 113 points dropped on your head by the Magic? C’mon, son. Y’all must have forgot that D’Antoni gives absolutely zero f— about defense and relies on his system to just outscore teams. Not gonna cut it. Not this year.
“But…but…Steve Nash will solve all the problems,” is all I keep hearing. Perhaps, but I have my doubts. This isn’t the same two-time MVP Steve Nash that was with D’Antoni many moons ago. This is a 38 (39 in February) year-old Nash who was supposed to miss a week with a leg injury and has now been out for a month. There’s a lot of miles on that body and he could easily fall apart physically without the miracle that is the Suns training/medical staff. And hell, I thought any point guard could flourish in this offense. Remember what Jeremy Lin did under the Pringles Man last year? Shit, even Chris Duhon was putting up borderline All-Star numbers back in the day!
When was the last time a franchise fired two coaches in one season?
(Also, if don’t already, follow Peter Vescey on Twitter. You’ll thank me later.)
— The Magic used a 40-point fourth quarter to rally and get the win.
— Arron Afflalo led the way with 30 points, 5 boards and 5 assists. Jammer Nelson scored 19 and handed out 13 assists and Big Baby had 23 points and 12 rebounds.
— The Magic shot 50 percent from the field for the game.
— Kobe scored 34 points on 27 shots.
— Dwight Howard killed the Lakers at the line. He shot 9-21 from the stripe over all and 7-14 during the decisive fourth quarter.
— The Lakers play nine out of their next 12 games away from the Staples Center.