Knicks control final seconds, take down Suns
DEC 26, 2012 9:58p ET
"That was the first thing he said to me," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "He goes, ‘You know I'm not that kind of player.' He said he would never try to hurt anybody out there. He plays hard and he competes like crazy. It was one of those things that happens.
"He's just going to be really sore. We'll evaluate it and we'll see in the morning."
After running off a four-game winning streak to get within one game of the Lakers, Phoenix (11-18) lost its third straight.
And while Smith's last-second shot won it, Gentry pointed directly at the second quarter for the reason for the loss, and not because of Dragic's injury. The Suns scored 15 points and had nearly as many turnovers (four) as field goals (six) in the quarter as the Knicks turned a two-point deficit into a 54-44 halftime lead. It was similar to the second quarter of their 103-77 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, when the Suns were outscored 30-19 in the second.
"We have to do something about the second quarter," Gentry said. We can't seem to get that right. That's where all of our troubles started. We had no rhythm whatsoever in that quarter. We didn't move the basketball, and we got ourselves in trouble.
"We dug ourselves a hole. When we do that and put ourselves in harm's way that way, everything has to go perfect. When it doesn't, the thing that happened tonight, where you have a guy making a difficult shot to win the game, those are the things that can happen. We have to do a much better job of being able to maintain when we play the second quarter. If not, we are going to start having to play the (regulars) a heck of a lot longer minutes."
Dudley had the Suns' first 30-point game since Shannon Brown had 32 against San Antonio on March 27, 2012. Dudley's previous high was 33, almost two years ago to the day against Miami on Dec. 23, 2010. The Suns ran plays for him, and he rewarded their faith.
"Sometimes it's energy. Sometimes it's bad turnovers. It's lack of concentration when you get that" bad quarter, Dudley said.
"I don't know if you get it with a young team. I don't know what excuse you want to use, but if it keeps happening, you'll keep finding yourself losing games by four to six points. It was one or two plays. We just have to keep plugging away."
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