It's a game that would have resulted in a disheartening loss
earlier in the season.
Instead of folding, the resurgent Knicks pulled out a 98-96 overtime
victory over the Phoenix Suns Monday at Madison Square Garden, the
team's season-high fifth straight win.
"I think now mentally we're a different type of team," Knicks
forward Carmelo Anthony said. "I think now we're starting to believe
that when we do get down we still have a chance of winning a
Anthony paced the Knicks with 29 points, 16 rebounds and four
assists. His biggest assist came on a pass to guard Raymond Felton
(19 points), who knocked down a corner 3-pointer with 53.1 seconds
remaining in the fourth quarter as the Knicks regained the lead at
92-90 after trailing 88-83 with 4:50 left in regulation.
"He's making the right play," Felton said of Anthony. "He
understands that we need him to score, but he also understands that
he can make the extra pass now and have confidence that we're going
to hit the shot for him."
Center Andrea Bargnani added 10 points and seven boards and guard
J.R. Smith had 10 points off the bench for the Knicks (15-22), who
played the first of four games in five nights.
"This is a big week for us, especially to keep the momentum going,
building some more confidence," Anthony said. "We've got four in
five so it's always big to take care of the first one, especially
here on our home court."
Guard Goran Dragic scored 28 points, but had just eight points on
3-of-11 shooting after halftime. Brazilian guard Leandro Barbosa
picked up where Dragic left off with 14 of his 21 points in the
fourth quarter to spark the Suns rally.
"I'm getting more comfortable playing with the guys on the court and
adjusting to the system," Barbosa said.
Phoenix (21-16), which went 1-4 on its season-long five-game road
trip, went 0-for-7 from the field in overtime and shot 35.5 percent
from the field and 23.3 percent from 3-point range for the game.
Forward Channing Frye and guard Gerald Green shot a combined 5-of-28
from the field.
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"Channing and Gerald didn't have good nights, but if those
guys played like the last game in Detroit, it would have been
much easier for us," Dragic said. "It's basketball. The ball is
round so sometimes you're going to have a good shooting night
and sometimes you are not, but (that's) just how it happens in
The Knicks, though, would rather focus on their defense, which
is what coach Mike Woodson said has been the difference during
this five-game winning streak.
"We lost some close games early in the year and it was just
boneheaded plays on our part as a coaching staff and as the guys
playing on the floor. We just didn't do the right things,"
Woodson said. "I think now in close games we're starting to
learn how to figure things out at the end. ... During this
stretch, it really has been our defense."
Already shorthanded with guard Eric Bledsoe sidelined with a
right knee injury, the Suns lost Markieff Morris midway through
the second quarter when the forward was called for his second
technical foul after pushing Smith following a hard foul.
"We lost him and that was big for us, took us out of being able
to post up and get some inside stuff," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek
said. "We don't have a lot of post up layers so that made it
tough having him go out."
NOTES: Knicks coach Mike Woodson spoke about J.R. Smith publicly
for the first time since the guard was fined $50,000 by the NBA
for attempting to untie an opponent's shoelace. "The bottom line
is he has to be more of a pro and do the right things and
concentrate on playing basketball," said Woodson, who benched
Smith against Miami on Thursday. "There's nothing else. You've
got to concentrate on your craft and what you're paid to do, and
that's play basketball." ... Knicks C Tyson Chandler missed his
fourth straight game because of an upper respiratory infection.
G Beno Udrih was out for a second consecutive game with
inflammation of the left tibiofibular joint. Also out were G
Pablo Prigioni (toe) and F Metta World Peace (knee). ... Suns G
Eric Bledsoe is out 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his
right knee, and C Emeka Okafor was out again with a herniated
disk in his neck. ... The Suns return home to take on the Los
Angeles Lakers in the first game of a five-game homestand on
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