Suns respond in second half but fall in OT
NEW YORK — Another win for the New York Knicks, in another game they might’ve lost last month.
Carmelo Anthony had 29 points and 16 rebounds, and the Knicks held the Phoenix Suns without a field goal in overtime to win 98-96 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.
Anthony scored four of the Knicks’ six points in the extra session, and New York allowed only four free throws while forcing the Suns to miss all seven shots. The Knicks pulled it out after their 14-point lead turned into a five-point deficit late in regulation.
"I think now as a team, I think mentally we’re a different type of team," Anthony said. "I think now we’re starting to believe that when we do get down, we still have a chance to win the basketball game."
Raymond Felton added 19 points for the Knicks (15-22), who climbed into a tie with Brooklyn for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Goran Dragic had 28 points and eight rebounds for the Suns, who dropped their third straight. Leandro Barbosa scored 21 in his best game since rejoining his old team on a 10-day contract.
But the Suns endured dreadful games from starters Gerald Green (2 of 16) and Channing Frye (3 of 12), ending their road trip with a 1-4 record.
"For the fifth game in seven nights against a team that’s playing well, I thought they gave a heck of an effort," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We didn’t make shots. Don’t know if it’s because it’s the end of the trip."
Playing their fourth straight game without Tyson Chandler because of bronchitis, the Knicks beat a Western Conference team at home for the first time in seven chances and improved to 7-12 overall at Madison Square Garden.
Despite their miserable start to the season, they can continue climbing the rest of January, as they open an eight-game homestand on Friday.
"The game is not over until the clock hits zero," Knicks forward Kenyon Martin said. "We lost some close games early on, so (we’re) just learning from the mistakes that we made early, just trying to build on what we’ve been doing."
The Suns ran off nine straight points midway through the fourth quarter to open an 88-83 lead on Barbosa’s jumper with 4:50 remaining. The Knicks recovered to regain the lead on Felton’s 3-pointer from the corner with 53 seconds to play, and after Gerald Green and Anthony traded misses, the Suns had one final chance.
Though Martin appeared to have his hand on some of the ball, a foul was called and Barbosa sank both free throws with 1.2 seconds left. J.R. Smith, who beat the Suns on a jumper at the buzzer last season, was long on a chance to do it again.
Martin found Anthony for a basket to open the scoring in overtime, then dunked a missed shot to make it 96-92. The Knicks could only manage Anthony’s turnaround jumper with 2:41 remaining from there, but it didn’t matter because the Suns couldn’t get anything going.
Phoenix compounded its problems when Frye made the second of two free throws with 2.5 seconds left, leaving the Suns down 98-96 without a timeout left and unable to get another possession.
With Eric Bledsoe lost to right knee surgery, the Suns just didn’t have enough to support Dragic, who had been starting alongside him.
"It’s a little bit harder now with Eric out. It’s much easier when you’re playing together and you have two ballhandlers. But it is what it is and I have to keep my head up," Dragic said.
The Knicks built a big early lead in the first half, when the highlight was when the Suns’ Markief Morris was ejected for picking up his second technical foul for shoving Smith after he was fouled. Because Morris was scheduled to shoot, the Knicks were allowed to pick someone off the Phoenix bench to do it.
Coach Mike Woodson went all the way across midcourt to tab Slava Kravtsov, a second-year Ukranian center who had attempted just six free throws all year, making three. With fans howling, Kravtsov went 1 for 2.
But the Suns opened the third quarter with an 11-2 spurt to tie it at 54. The Knicks quickly regrouped and rebuilt a double-digit lead, and were ahead 75-68 heading to the fourth.
Barbosa, the Sixth Man of the Year in Phoenix in 2007 who just returned to the NBA last week, scored eight straight Phoenix points to trim it to 78-76. The Suns eventually pulled ahead when Barbosa blew by his defender on consecutive trips for layups, one of them while getting fouled, to make it 84-83 with 5:51 to play.