Post Game: Knicks 99, Suns 97

On Wednesday night at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, the Knicks (21-8) defeated the Phoenix Suns (11-18) by the score of 99-97. Box Score

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J.R. Smith led the Knicks in scoring with 27 points, shooting 11-27 from the field, with five steals, five assists and six rebounds. He hit the game tying shot with 10 seconds left and a buzzer beater for the win.

Jason Kidd had a season high 23 points as the starting point guard with eight assists and six rebounds. The Knicks were +13 when he was on the floor.

Jared Dudley scored a career high 36 points with five rebounds, three assists and five, three pointers. Marcin Gortat was the second leading scorer with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Chris Copeland scored 14 points on 6-12 shooting off the bench with two rebounds and two blocks. Tyson Chandler scored 14 points and had a team high 12 rebounds.

Every player that set foot on the court for the Knicks scored at least two points.

Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton both missed the game after sustaining injuries in the previous game against the Lakers

The Knicks out rebounded the Suns 41-38

The Knicks bench out scored the Suns bench 53-27.

This is the first time since the 2002-2003 season that the Knicks have swept the season series from the Suns.

The Knicks, under Mike Woodson, have only lost two games in a row once.

Matthew Falkenbury

Earl…Joseph…Smith, The Third. You have proven tonight that no shot you take, is too insane, silly, ridiculous or as I put it yesterday, horrific. Some of you in the comments in yesterday’s post game took me to task for getting on Smith’s shot at the end of the Lakers game. Now, I stand by that statement in the context of that one game and moment in that game. But, tonight, on back to back possessions, we saw the opposite end of the spectrum when he takes tough shots that look “horrific”. When the ball goes in, that’s all that counts, and where it didn’t fall yesterday, it sure went in tonight.

Tyson Chandler after the game to reporters about J.R. Smith: “Knowing JR, it’s almost better for him to take a tougher shot. It seems like he makes the tougher shots.”

J.R. Smith not only had the game winner, but his effort and energy throughout the game was very impressive. Sure it took him 27 shots to get 27 points, but the rest of his line is pretty rare to see. To add six rebounds, five assists and five steals, with his scoring shows that he can do so much more than just score. You take the good with the bad when it comes to J.R. and tonight there was a lot more good than bad.

Of course, that flagrant foul on Goran Dragic was very dangerous and I would not be surprised if he didn’t get some kind of fine for it. It seems like the opinion on it varies from person to person on the issue. At first, I didn’t think that it was a flagrant, but after watching the replay, I can understand the call. But, I can also see where others didn’t think it was a flagrant.

Jason Kidd has been so good that I think we should all find a way to build a fountain of youth and make him younger so he can play with the Knicks forever. He was absolutely fantastic running the offense and, setting up every Knicks player on the court with him, for success. The fact that the drop off tonight from Kidd to Prigioni was so steep is a testament to just how good Kidd is and was tonight. 23 points, six rebounds and eight assists  from a 39 year old point guard is something you just never see in an NBA that is dominated by younger, quicker guards. Also, lets not forget the great defensive play he made before the Smith buzzer beater to give the Knicks a chance to win it. Jason Kidd, ladies and gentlemen, can truly do it all.

Glen Grunwald, who took some heat for signing Kidd, has got to be right behind Jerry Reese of the Giants as the best executive in New York sports right now. Kidd, Copeland, J.R. Smith and, Tyson Chandler, all are guys that were brought in by Grunwald.

I had an opportunity to go to Knicks practice this past Saturday and one of the things that stood out was the shooting of Chris Copeland. This guy, who was battling for the 15th spot on the roster (aka the Herb Williams end of the bench spot), has been such a great story for the Knicks this year. He was very solid in the second quarter, scoring 10 of his 14 points, and hit a big shot late in the fourth to give the Knicks at the time a 95-90 lead. He needs to play more, plain and simple.

The Phoenix Suns have a team that reminds me a little of the first Knicks team under D’Antoni, after the Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford trades. They have talent and can certainly be tough at home, but crushing losses seem to be the norm with them. They are obviously in a re-building mode, and need to make good decisions along the way to return to the glory years they had in the Mid-2000’s. It will be interesting to see if they will be patient or maybe try to rebuild on the fly and not wait. Based on what I saw, waiting it out and being smart and calculating with this rebuild has to be the way to go.

With Carmelo and Felton out with injuries and playing the second game of a back to back on the road, the Knicks had plenty of excuses to lose this game. They did not. They played well for a stretch, withstood a sustained run from the Suns, as they came back from down 14, and pulled out an exciting win. The Knicks seem to have a new injury every week and every time they find a way to work past it and be successful. This has been a fun season and no matter what, they battle, and that is truly the Knicks best quality.

Coming up next, the Knicks wrap up this three game west coast trip as they head to the capital of California, Sacramento, to go up against, Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins(?) and the Sacramento Kings. The game will begin at 10:00 pm on Friday and will be shown on MSG.