Suns Fall in Overtime At New York

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Once again the Suns crawled back and threatened to steal a game that, early on, didn’t seem theirs to take.

Phoenix cut a 14-point lead down to four. Later they erased another 14-point lead completely. After trailing by double-digits for a third time, they actually led by five in the fourth quarter.

And that was all before overtime.

By the time an extra five minutes was tacked onto the game – courtesy of Leandro Barbosa’s clutch free throws to tie it up with 1.2 seconds remaining – Phoenix had too little left in the tank to finish the job. The Suns forced New York to miss their last four shots in the extra frame, but missed all seven of their own field goal attempts in overtime.

The result was a 98-96 loss at New York to finish the Suns’ five-game road trip. They lost four of those five contests by an average of 3.7 points. Their lone win – at Minnesota – was a one-point victory.

Monday night offered similar dramatics, provided by the usual stand-out performance from Goran Dragic (28 points, eight rebounds, four assists) and a surprise eruption from Leandro Barbosa (21 points, 8-of-15 FG). Miles Plumlee chipped in yet another double-double, finishing with 12 points, 11 rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

It appeared Dragic might not get the help he needed early on. He scored 20 of the Suns’ 43 first-half points while going toe-to-toe with New York’s Carmelo Anthony (29 points, 16 rebounds). One sequence saw Dragic follow an Anthony jumper by nailing a step-back of his own over the Knicks’ All-Star forward after creating the mismatch on a pick-and-roll.

Twice Dragic keyed runs for Phoenix, but the third and final one of regulation came courtesy of his two-time teammate, Barbosa. The Brazlian guard scored 19 of his 21 points after halftime, including 14 in the fourth quarter. He was constantly on the attack, punishing bigger defenders with drives to the basket.

All of Barbosa’s makes came inside the three-point arc, with only two of them coming outside the key.

His 16-foot jumper put Phoenix up by five with with 4:50 remaining, but New York responded with an 11-2 run, capped by Raymond Felton’s three-poiner to put them up by two with 53 seconds left in regulation.

Both teams missed their next attempts, and again Phoenix had the ball down two with 10 seconds remaining.

Barbosa drove and was fouled by Kenyon Martin. He sank both free throws, and J.R. Smith’s game-winning shot attempt at the buzzer fell well off the mark.

After the Knicks scored the first two baskets of overtime, Phoenix twice cut the lead to three, but couldn’t get any closer.

The Suns start a five-game homestand on Wednesday when they host the Lakers. Phoenix won the previous two meetings with them this season.