7:30 PM ET, December 1, 2009
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Knicks help D'Antoni get best of old team with dominating win over Suns
NEW YORK -- Mike D'Antoni's offense was as spectacular against the Suns as it used to be with them.
And after watching his team blow it open early and pour it on late, he was able to relax in the final minutes for one of the few times since he left Phoenix.
Underdogs On Top
The Knicks snapped a five-game skid by toppling the NBA-leading Suns in a 27-point win.
Minimum 15 games played
Danilo Gallinari had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and the New York Knicks beat the Suns 126-99 on Tuesday night, snapping a five-game losing streak and giving their coach a resounding victory over his old team.
"If we can bottle this up," D'Antoni said. "As a matter of fact, I didn't know how to conduct myself the last five minutes. I didn't know who to put in, when to put them in. It's been a while."
David Lee added 24 points and Al Harrington had 22 for the Knicks, who rang up a season-best 71 first-half points, then put it away when Gallinari scored seven points in a span of barely a minute midway through the third quarter.
New York reached 100 points by the end of the third and coasted to its easiest victory of the season.
"It means a lot when you play against a team that plays your game and is at the top of the list, because they have the best record," Gallinari said. "So it's great for us."
Steve Nash had 20 points and eight assists for the Suns (14-4), who came in with the NBA's best record. They had won four straight by an average of 21.3 points, but this time found themselves on the other side of a blowout.
The Suns didn't even reach 100 points, the first time this season that's happened.
"Terrible performance," Nash said. "I'm embarrassed. Obviously just a disastrous effort. We just have to wash it away and pick it up tomorrow."
It was a sweet victory for D'Antoni, who rode his high-scoring offensive system to an average of 58 wins in his four full seasons in Phoenix before he and the Suns parted ways after a first-round loss to San Antonio in 2008.
He hasn't been nearly as successful with an inferior roster in New York, where he coached his 100th game Tuesday and recorded just his 36th victory. He improved to 2-1 against the Suns, though said before the game the emotions weren't the same as they were last season.
"I've got enough problems in New York that I don't really reflect on what they're doing," D'Antoni said.
Phoenix missed the playoffs last season, but has rededicated itself to playing fast under Alvin Gentry and was looking to start 15-3 for the first time since doing so under D'Antoni in 2004-05. But the Suns never slowed the Knicks down for long, even when they went to a zone in the third quarter.
"Mike did a great job. He had them well prepared," Gentry said. "They shot the ball well and played well defensively. Obviously they did, we didn't get 100 points."
New York doubled its 13-point halftime lead midway through the third quarter and led by 31 in the fourth. None of the Knicks' previous three wins had come by more than seven points.
"Third quarters have been really tough for us, how we start third quarters," Knicks guard Chris Duhon said. "But we came out and we took care of the game mostly in the early parts of the third quarter."
New York fell two points shy of its highest-scoring quarter of the season, opening a 39-28 lead. Chandler (12), Gallinari and Lee (10 apiece) were already in double figures after the first 12 minutes.
The Knicks opened the second quarter with a 9-4 burst, extending the lead to 48-32 on Gallinari's jumper. The Suns cut it to six later in the period, but New York pushed it back to 15, repeatedly getting layups and dunks, and led 71-58 at the half.
Gentry was chosen Tuesday as Western Conference coach of the month, the fifth Phoenix coach to win the honor. D'Antoni claimed it a franchise-record four times. ... Phoenix played without reserve guard Leandro Barbosa, who sprained his left ankle Sunday in Toronto and also will miss Wednesday's game. ... The Knicks also scored 71 points in the second half against Philadelphia on Oct. 31. ... The Suns had won nine of the previous 11 meetings.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||35-77 (.455)||47-95 (.495)|
|3PM-3PA||4-17 (.235)||14-31 (.452)|
|FTM-FTA||25-32 (.781)||18-27 (.667)|
|Fast Break Points||6||12|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (3/0)||24 (0/0)|