After a three-game respite, the Phoenix Suns played to the script they have followed most of the season by getting down big early before fighting back and ultimately falling short thanks to far too...

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The Suns would have won this game if only Jermaine O'Neal (thigh bruise) had been able to play. Or perhaps if the start time hadn't been so early on a Sunday. Maybe they would have won if they weren't on the tail end of a very long road trip. Or perhaps if they had only held on to the ball a little better (17 turnovers). If they were only able to stay with the sneaky-fast Steve Novak as he camped out at the three-point line and took uncontested shots.

So close. So close.

Not really that close at all. Down 15-points within the first few minutes and unable to capitalize on foul trouble for Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith and mouth trouble for Rasheed Wallace (ejected after 1:25 minutes of floor time) the Suns were quickly in their familiar early hole. It must be very warm and cozy there since they go to that place so frequently.

As they are prone to do, Phoenix clawed to within six early in the second but that guy who never hits a three (Novak) went 3-5 for nine points and Carmelo Anthony mixed in some incredibly difficult shots with a stupendous missed dunk (also nine points in the 2nd) to power the Knicks to 35 points in the period.

Game ovah.

Except it technically wasn't, unfortunately, ovah quite yet.

The third quarter featured some Mad Brown Bombs (13 points) and a heavy dose of Melo (also 13 points). The rest of the professional basketball players that played all combined for a total of 34 points evenly distributed among both teams.

Math quiz: Based on the previous information, how many points did each team score in the quarter.

Hint: 30 each.

In the fourth, the Suns made it kinda exciting (except we knew they were just teasing). The perimeter defense improved and so 46% shooting from three was replaced with 0% (0-3) and as a result, the Suns won the quarter 27-17.

"Too little, too late" comes to mind.

Bassy played the entire quarter and looked sharp(ish) with 8 of his 11 points but the lead was too big and the Suns not talented enough to make it closer than a four-point margin. But at least they beat the 11.5-point spread! Victory!!!

Some bullet points on how you lose a game:

- turn the ball over 17 times (giving up 23 points) while the other guys only give up the ball 8 times (10 points)

- get beat 20-12 on second chance points

- let Raymond Felton add his own efficient 23 points to Melo's inefficient 34 points

- Steve Novak (12 points, 4-9 from three)

- shoot 48% from the field and lose because you have a team that can't play defense worth a lick

Good night day.


Final - 12.2.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Phoenix Suns 20 22 30 27 99
New York Knicks 24 35 30 17 106

Complete Coverage >


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Facebook is for losers...and Bright Side of the Sun.

156659294

The Phoenix Suns went into Madison Square Garden and got blown out by the New York Knicks. It was hardly a surprise, but still a disappointment.

The easy part of the Suns 11-day road trip is over. They couldn't manage wins against Philly (10-7), Cleveland (4-13) or Toronto (4-13). So, what do you think the odds are the rag-tag Phoenix squad will leave Madison Square Garden (11-4) with anything other than a loss?

The odds are actually not posted yet (probably due to injury uncertainty with the Knicks...or more likely, a lack of betting interest in this Sunday game that's going up against the mighty NFL). now posted and have the Suns as an 11.5 point underdog.

The Knicks, in their first full season with Mike D'Antoni's replacement (Mike Woodsen), are playing fantastic basketball despite Amare Stoudemire's inability to yet take the floor (knee).

They are defending well (Def. Eff. 103.7, 13th) thanks to DPOY Tyson Chandler and a renewed commitment to play team defense.

With Carmelo Anthony playing the four, they are scoring the ball as well (Off. Eff. 112.7, 1st). The amazing stylings of J.R. Smith and Steve Novak help too. And Raymond Felton but down the pie and is playing solid PG ball (15 pts, 7 ast. per game).

In theory, it's a team the Suns might be able to beat in the paint with the power forward combo of Luis Scola and Markieff Morris if they are going to go small. But of course, do you really look forward to seeing either of those guys defending Melo?

Anyway, the Knicks seem like they will start with a traditional line up with Chandler, Kurt Thomas and Melo on the front line and Felton and Ronnie Brewer in the back. Jason Kidd (back spasms / old man) is listed as "doubtful".

In years past, Gentry would give Grant Hill that Melo assignment. I'm curious (only slightly) to see if Gentry goes small as well and uses P.J. Tucker on Melo and maybe even plays Morris or Scola at the five a bit.

- Start time: 10:00am local / 12:00pm ET

- TV: Fox Sports AZ / NBALP

- Knicks roster and stats

- Posting and Toasting

New theory, the balance bane

The Toronto game was interesting to me. The team looked like they were focused and determined coming off the Detroit Disaster, but I'm starting to think this roster's biggest problem (outside the lack of top flight talent, duh) is too many guys who are too good to bench but not good enough to dominate.

There are no clear roles. There are no clear patterns and predictable moves. There is no guy or guys who the team can look to on a consistent basis to deliver on either end (P.J. Tucker excluded). They are looking at their teammates and saying, "I'm the guy" instead of trusting and following each other.

As a result, Gentry seems to spend the first half the game spreading the ball around trying to find a hot hand and then the second half adjusting to what he thinks might work. The problem is that none of his "hot hands" are good enough to really dominate. No Suns player has scored over 30 this season. No one player has shown the ability to put the team on his back. As a result, everyone thinks they are good enough to do it and they all want the ball, but none of them are "the man".

It's been Gentry's M.O. early in the season to spread the minutes and the touches around and he's already "tightened" up to a ten-man rotation and benched Wes Johnson. Is it time to try cutting that back to eight?

Would it help to look at Michael Beasley and say, go get me 30 points, I don't care how many shots you take? Probably not.

The balance could be an advantage if teams don't know which Suns will bite them on a given night. But if none of them are good enough to do it, maybe there's another strategy to use.

Probably not.

This roster was always destined to be a sub-.500 team and early season struggles should come as no surprise -- we've seen it every year of Gentry's tenure including the 14-17 start to the 2010 WCF team.

One day at a time, folks. At least this game will be over early in the day.

157250862

The easy part of the Suns 11-day road trip is over. They couldn't manage wins against Philly (10-7), Cleveland (4-13) or Toronto (4-13). So, what do you think the odds are the rag-tag Phoenix squad will leave Madison Square Garden (11-4) with anything other than a loss?

The odds are actually not posted yet (probably due to injury uncertainty with the Knicks...or more likely, a lack of betting interest in this Sunday game that's going up against the mighty NFL). now posted and have the Suns as an 11.5 point underdog.

The Knicks, in their first full season with Mike D'Antoni's replacement (Mike Woodsen), are playing fantastic basketball despite Amare Stoudemire's inability to yet take the floor (knee).

They are defending well (Def. Eff. 103.7, 13th) thanks to DPOY Tyson Chandler and a renewed commitment to play team defense.

With Carmelo Anthony playing the four, they are scoring the ball as well (Off. Eff. 112.7, 1st). The amazing stylings of J.R. Smith and Steve Novak help too. And Raymond Felton but down the pie and is playing solid PG ball (15 pts, 7 ast. per game).

In theory, it's a team the Suns might be able to beat in the paint with the power forward combo of Luis Scola and Markieff Morris if they are going to go small. But of course, do you really look forward to seeing either of those guys defending Melo?

Anyway, the Knicks seem like they will start with a traditional line up with Chandler, Kurt Thomas and Melo on the front line and Felton and Ronnie Brewer in the back. Jason Kidd (back spasms / old man) is listed as "doubtful".

In years past, Gentry would give Grant Hill that Melo assignment. I'm curious (only slightly) to see if Gentry goes small as well and uses P.J. Tucker on Melo and maybe even plays Morris or Scola at the five a bit.

- Start time: 10:00am local / 12:00pm ET

- TV: Fox Sports AZ / NBALP

- Knicks roster and stats

- Posting and Toasting

New theory, the balance bane

The Toronto game was interesting to me. The team looked like they were focused and determined coming off the Detroit Disaster, but I'm starting to think this roster's biggest problem (outside the lack of top flight talent, duh) is too many guys who are too good to bench but not good enough to dominate.

There are no clear roles. There are no clear patterns and predictable moves. There is no guy or guys who the team can look to on a consistent basis to deliver on either end (P.J. Tucker excluded). They are looking at their teammates and saying, "I'm the guy" instead of trusting and following each other.

As a result, Gentry seems to spend the first half the game spreading the ball around trying to find a hot hand and then the second half adjusting to what he thinks might work. The problem is that none of his "hot hands" are good enough to really dominate. No Suns player has scored over 30 this season. No one player has shown the ability to put the team on his back. As a result, everyone thinks they are good enough to do it and they all want the ball, but none of them are "the man".

It's been Gentry's M.O. early in the season to spread the minutes and the touches around and he's already "tightened" up to a ten-man rotation and benched Wes Johnson. Is it time to try cutting that back to eight?

Would it help to look at Michael Beasley and say, go get me 30 points, I don't care how many shots you take? Probably not.

The balance could be an advantage if teams don't know which Suns will bite them on a given night. But if none of them are good enough to do it, maybe there's another strategy to use.

Probably not.

This roster was always destined to be a sub-.500 team and early season struggles should come as no surprise -- we've seen it every year of Gentry's tenure including the 14-17 start to the 2010 WCF team.

One day at a time, folks. At least this game will be over early in the day.

New York Knicks 106, Phoenix Suns 99 The Phoenix Suns have been embarrassed by 40 points against a team that started 0-8 and have dropped a nail biter to a squad that had lost six in a row and been...

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