Knicks beat Suns, stay unbeaten at home
Posted at: 12/03/2012 12:35 AM
By BRIAN MAHONEY
(AP) NEW YORK - Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points as the New York Knicks won their third straight game and remained unbeaten at home with a 106-99 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.
Raymond Felton had 23 points, seven assists and no turnovers for the Knicks, who are 7-0 at Madison Square Garden and 12-4 overall, a half-game behind Miami for the best record in the Eastern Conference. They got off to a good start in December after winning 11 in November for the first time since a 12-victory November in 1972 on the way to their last NBA championship.
Tyson Chandler finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds. The Knick also shook off the first ejection of Rasheed Wallace’s comeback _ after a mere 1:25 of playing time _ that left them short-handed. Jason Kidd missed a fourth straight game with lower back spasms.
Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who dropped their third straight and fell to 1-4 on their season-high, six-game road trip that ends Tuesday in Memphis. Shannon Brown scored 17 points.
Phoenix had won its last two at MSG but the Knicks have finally figured out under coach Mike Woodson that home-court games are not to be wasted. They are 18-1 in the regular season here since he took over last March, jumping on their last few opponents from the start.
The Suns have trailed by double digits in 14 of their 18 games and were already down 10 just 4:18 into the game. The Knicks seemed well on their way to eclipsing their NBA-best average of 27.5 points per first quarter when they jumped ahead 21-6 with 5:15 left in the period.
But they got bogged down committing fouls, including one on Wallace against Luis Scola. Wallace was hit with a technical foul, then after Goran Dragic missed the free throw, yelled "Ball don’t lie!" _ his way of saying the call was proven wrong _ and whistled for another to pick up his 31st career ejection, according to STATS, LLC.
Wallace has been called for more than 300 technical fouls in his career and led the league seven times, but said he was too old to be clashing with officials at age 38 when he ended a two-year retirement. But he’s up to four for the season now, one off the league lead.
The Suns pulled within 24-20 after one before the Knicks broke it open again late in the second with an 11-2 spurt that gave them a 59-39 lead with 24 seconds left in the half.
But the game got close a few times in the second half.
Phoenix had the ball with a chance to get within 10 in the final minute of the third but Gortat was whistled for an offensive foul. The Knicks then scored the next five points, taking an 89-72 lead to the fourth after Anthony made a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left.
The Suns made a charge to open the fourth, pulling within 93-85 on Jared Dudley’s 3-pointer midway through the period. A follow dunk by Chandler before baskets by Felton and Anthony pushed the lead to 97-85 with 5:16 to go, yet still the Knicks couldn’t put it away. Phoenix got it down to 103-99 on Brown’s layup with 26 seconds left, but JR Smith _ who was 1 of 11 from the field _ made two free throws and Chandler added one.
Notes: Backup center Marcus Camby, unable to crack the Knicks’ rotation after he was sidelined most of the preseason, was out with a sore left foot. ... Suns veteran Jermaine O’Neal sat out with a strained right quadriceps. ... The Knicks regained the series lead at 58-57. Phoenix has only led once, after winning the first meeting on Oct. 24, 1968. ... The national anthem was performed by Abigail Shapiro, who plays Cindy Lou in the upcoming "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" at Madison Square Garden’s theater. The Grinch was on the court posing for photos before the game.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)