Suns Melt Knicks in 2nd Half. Phoenix 116 NY 95

The Knicks were playing evenly with the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix early in the 3rd quarter, tied 60-60, when all of a sudden NY couldn’t hit a shot anymore, and the Suns could. Within 2 minutes Phoenix went up by 11. Jalen Brunson fought back to pull the NY to within 6, but by the end of the period Phoenix was up by 15, and in the 4th quarter blew the Knicks away.

Phoenix increased their defense but also NY just couldn’t hit a shot anymore. Layups or 3’s. Phoenix ended up going 17-39 from 3 (43.6%) ; NY was 7-25 (28%).

And that was that.

NY falls to 8-9 with 1 game left on the 5-game West Coast roadtrip; Phoenix improves to 10-6.


1. At One Point it Was Brunson vs the Suns

The Knicks were playing a good game through the first half and the first 4 minutes of the 3rd quarter — it was a 60-60 tie. Brunson was penetrating and dishing or scoring; Quentin Grimes was playing well. Randle was beasting inside. Jericho Sims was playing well.

And then just like that, Phoenix hit three 3’s in a row — Mikal Bridges, Torrey Craig, and Devin Booker — and the Suns were up by 11.

The Knicks were missing shots but Jalen Brunson put the team on his back and started to penetrate and score on short jumpers — pulling NY back to within 6.

But everyone but Brunson continued to misfire — RJ Barrett had another poor shooting game (3-11, 1-3 from 3s), as did Immanuel Quickley (1-6 from the floor, 0-2 from 3) and Obi Toppin (0-4 from the floor, 0-2 from 3 for 0 points).

With 1:30 left in the period, NY was down by 11 again. And then…

  • RJ Barrett made a terrific move to beat defenders and drive to the basket, but the ball rolled out — again as it has so often for him this year.
  • Quickley missed a 3 from the corner.
  • Booker hit a fall-away 3 from the corner.
  • Quickley missed a drive wherein he was a little out of control and no foul was called, and
  • Duane Washington hit a 3 and NY was down 17. Just like that.

The 4th quarter was more of that, as Phoenix pulled away with a 25-pt lead at one point.

Cameron Payne hurt the Knicks — the crafty 6’1 lefty point guard distributes and hits his shot. He had 21 points on 7-14 shooting. Damion Lee came off the bench to torch the Knicks; the backup point guard had 15 points and was 4-6 from 3.

Devin Booker had 20 points; Ayton and Bridges 13 each.

2. Grimes Played and Played Well

Quentin Grimes started and played well. He penetrated, passed well within the team framework, played good D, and shot ok — although his numbers (4-10 from the floor, 1-5 from 3, 1-2 in free throws) were in some ways not as good as Barrett’s.

Barrett’s shooting wasn’t horrific — 3-11 from the floor and 1-3 from 3 — and the good news is that Barrett continues to be aggressive in taking it to the hoop with his shot not falling, and is drawing fouls — and making the free throws; he was 5-6 from the line and so finished with 12 points. Barrett is now shooting .761 from the free throw line this year.

3. Mitch Returns

At one point in the 2nd quarter you noticed the Knicks had a tall, skinny guy on the court with a headband — and then realized it was Mitchell Robinson! Mitch was finally back after missing over a week with a bruised knee. He played 17 minutes, with 4 rebounds, and 2 points, but seemed still a bit out of sorts — as he did not get up as high as he usually does on a pass inside that he would have normally intercepted, and was a little late to challenge some shots.

Isaiah Hartenstein started and played ok in 15 minutes (7 pts on 2-5 shooting), and Jericho Sims played well in 16 minutes (5 pts, 5 rebounds).

Julius Randle played well in the 1st half; missed shots in the 2nd. He finished with 9 points on 4-11 shooting, 4 rebounds in 27 minutes.

4. McBride Sees Daylight; Plays Well

With Cam Reddish out, Miles McBride saw daylight in the 4th quarter and played well — made a terrific pass at one point (to Hartenstein ahead of the field), and hit his shot: 9 pts on 4-6 shooting in 14 minutes.

The Boxscore

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