Forward Carmelo Anthony returned after missing two games with a sore
knee, scoring 19 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and recording eight
assists for his 12th double-double of the season and rookie forward
Kristaps Porzingis came back from an upper respiratory illness to
score seven points and pull down seven rebounds.
"I was still feeling it (sick)," said Porzingis, "It was hard to
breathe. My body wasn't 100 percent yet, but I wanted to help the
team so I wanted to be out there."
Anthony and Porzingis didn't play in the Knicks (23-26) 103-93 loss
to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday. With the Knicks maintaining a
20-plus lead for most of the fourth quarter against the Suns, New
York coach Derek Fisher was able to sit Anthony and Porzingis for
the entire quarter.
"That was a blessing for us to get guys off the floor," said Fisher.
"It was an opportunity to lower their minutes."
Anthony, who played 30 minutes and was 5-of-14 from the floor,
looked fresh at both ends. He helped build the Knicks a sizeable
first-half lead with 12 points.
"I thought he (Anthony) he had a good pace," said Fisher. "He didn't
try too hard to take over the game. He has been playing that type of
basketball for several weeks now.
"When he is sharing the ball and making everyone else better, we are
a much better basketball team."
The Knicks narrowly missed their second wire-to-wire win of the
season. The Suns took a 2-1 lead early in the game and never led
again. New York's only game this season where it never trailed came
against the Philadelphia 76ers (99-87) on Dec. 2.
The 18-point decision against the Suns was the Knicks' second
largest margin of victory this season. They defeated Milwaukee
122-97 on opening night.
Phoenix (14-34) has lost 13 straight road games, the longest road
losing streak for the franchise in 32 years. The Suns' last road win
this season came on Dec. 7 at Chicago.
Guard Arron Afflalo chipped in with 17 points for the Knicks.
Knicks center Robin Lopez contributed 13 points and Langston
Galloway, starting at point guard for the injured Jose Calderon,
added 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Shooting guard Devin Booker topped the Suns with 21 points.
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Galloway gave the Knicks a 74-49 cushion with a deep 3-pointer from
the right elbow with 7:08 remaining in the third quarter. The Suns
never got closer than 17 points in the quarter.
New York moved the ball crisply in the first half, producing 16
assists on 19 baskets. Anthony played the distributor role with six
assists to go with 12 points as the Knicks built a 58-40 halftime
Phoenix got as close as 32-24 before Anthony scored seven straight
points for a 39-24 Knicks lead with 7:18 left in the second quarter.
The Suns committed nine turnovers in just less than six minutes,
leading to an 18-4 New York lead.
"You have no chance when you turn the ball over," said Suns coach
Jeff Hornacek. "When I look at the turnovers on basic plays, we
don't even compete.
"If you can't complete the basic plays, you are going to have long
NOTES: The Knicks were without G Jose Calderon (sore groin), who had
started 46 games at point guard. ... New York is 0-6 without F
Carmelo Anthony. ... The Knicks were playing their third game in
four nights. ... The Knicks signed F Thanasis Antetokounmpo to a
10-day contract from Westchester of the D-League. He scored two
points in his debut. He was averaging 10.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and
1.26 blocks in 27 games with Westchester. He is the older brother of
Milwaukee Bucks F Giannis. ... Suns G Brandon Knight missed his
fifth straight game with a strained groin. ... Phoenix signed G
Jordan McRae to a 10-day contract from Delaware of the D-League.
McRae scored 12 points in his Suns debut against the Knicks.
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