Suns News

Newsroom Notes: Suns Shine in Win Over Knicks

Nash and Co. topped the Knicks on the second half of a back-to-back.
(NBAE/Getty Images)
By Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
Posted: Jan. 18, 2012

It was just over a week ago that the Suns were in the midst of a defensive turnaround.

After encountering some turbulence in that department over the last week, the Suns hunkered back down, holding the Knicks to just 88 points in a 91-88 road victory. The win marks the end to a five-game losing streak, doing so on the second half of a back-to-back set of games.

The Suns improved to a perfect 5-0 after leading at the half, earning their first win on this five-game road trip. Phoenix held New York to just 37-percent shooting, while Knicks star Carmelo Anthony was limited to 5-of-22 shooting.

"I thought (Suns forward Grant Hill) did about as good a job as you could do on Carmelo," Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. "Because I think he’s the most efficient scorer in the league."

Offensively, Gentry has received solid production from Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat, who can essentially be penciled in for double-figures every night. However, Gentry has been in search of a consistent third scorer.

Tonight, he received two in Grant Hill and Shannon Brown. While Nash posted 26 points and 11 assists and Gortat added 11 points and 12 rebounds, both Brown and Hill scored 14 to help the cause. Brown poured in all of his points in the second half, including nine in the fourth.

"It takes the pressure of asking Steve to do every single thing," Gentry said. "I thought Shannon did it with a lot of confidence. He wasn’t afraid and he made three really big plays for us."

The other advantage for the Suns offensively was that the Suns outscored the Knicks by 16 in the paint.

The Suns look to keep the momentum rolling when they visit Boston on Friday.

Family Ties

Everyone already knew that there was history between the Suns and Knicks. It’s common knowledge that Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire starred in the Valley of the Suns and Mike D’Antoni served as the Suns Head Coach before taking his current position in New York.

However, it runs deeper than that. Alvin Gentry was on the same staff of assistants that makes up New York’s staff right now. Suns assistants Phil Weber and Dan D’Antoni all coached with Gentry. But Suns assistant coach Bill Cartwright played nine season in New York after being selected third un the 1979 NBA Draft by the Knicks.

Knicks assistant GM Allan Houston played with Suns forward Grant Hill in Detroit. During that time, Alvin Gentry coached both of them as a Pistons assistant.

Suns center Robin Lopez played with Knicks swingman Landry Fields at Stanford, and last but not least, the Knicks drafted Suns power forward Channing Frye in 2005.

New Lineup

The Suns, who came into Wednesday amongst the league’s worst in second-quarter scoring looked to shore that up by reconfiguring the starting lineup a tad. Gentry inserted Markieff Morris at power forward and Ronnie Price at the shooting guard.

"I thought Ronnie set the tone for what we wanted to do defensively," Gentry said. "He was guarding a guy 6-8 (Landry Fields)."

The Suns Head Coach was hoping that the combination of Frye and Dudley off the bench would allow the team to continue to thrive in second period against opponents’ reserves. Last night, after shooting 65 percent in the opening quarter, the Suns shot 6-of-17 from the field in the second.

The move worked, with the Suns outscoring the Knicks in the second period and shooting 50 percent for the quarter. It will work even better when Morris doesn't leave the game in the first half with the flu.

Price Book Club

Before the contest, Price was reading “The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to a Peak Performance” to get some insight on how to improve his game and his life off the court. Price said that there are some interesting chapters about visualization and confidence-building that were particularly interesting and helpful.

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