Hornacek has Knicks on a roll as he returns to Phoenix for 1st time
Jeff Hornacek finds himself in a far better place today than when he last appeared at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Hornacek, hired to coach the New York Knicks this summer after being fired by the Suns in February, returns to Phoenix with a Knicks team that is enjoying its best season in four years.
The Knicks are 14-10 -- their first time four games over .500 since the 2012-13 season. They have gone 11-4 following a 3-6 start and have won the first two games of a current five-game road trip.
The 14 wins represent the same total Hornacek had when he was fired by the Suns last February -- in 49 games (14-35).
The Suns (7-17) are still scuffling, with a virtually identical winning percentage heading into Tuesday night's game with New York. The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports GO, starting at 6:30 p.m.
The Knicks already own victories over Sacramento (Friday) and the L.A. Lakers (Sunday) to start their road trip and have won their last four games on the road.
Derrick Rose returned from a back injury to make 12 of his 16 shots and score 25 points in a 118-112 win over the Lakers on Sunday. Kristaps Porzingis tied his career-best with seven blocked shots, helped the New York cause with a career-best-tying seven blocks.
The Knicks were able to win on a night when Carmelo Anthony was held to 13 points.
"We're just trusting one another and believing in what we're doing, in our schemes, defensively and offensively," Anthony explained. "Guys are feeling confident when they get the ball to make plays for themselves and others. We need that as a team. We need that confidence."
As hot as the Knicks have been on the road, the Suns have been equally cold at home. They have only one home win in more than a month, that being a victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 30.
Phoenix came close to getting another Sunday night, but came up a point short in a 120-119 overtime loss to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Coming close isn't good enough for some Suns.
"I'm a competitor. I want to win," said Tyson Chandler, who had season-highs in points (14) and rebounds (21) in the loss. "These losses aren't easy on me."
Forward T.J. Warren, who has missed the last 11 games (eight losses) with a head injury, participated in full-court scrimmaging for about 40 minutes on Monday but is not expected to play against the Knicks. Warren was averaging 17.7 points a game at the time he was injured.
"Felt great. Felt good to be back on the court with my teammates," Warren said after Monday's practice. "We got up-and-down a little bit. Did a lot of intense stuff. It was good to go out there and compete for a little bit out there."
Coach Earl Watson said it will be up to Warren to decide when he's ready for game action.
"It’s up to T.J., whenever he feels ready," he said. "We don't want to rush him back. When he's ready, he'll let us know."