With leading scorer Carmelo Anthony out with a hyperextended left knee and starting point guard Raymond Felton sidelined by a fractured right pinkie that could require surgery and a four-to-six-week shelving — two injuries suffered during a 100-94 Christmas Day loss to the Los Angeles Lakers — the New York Knicks needed more scoring and playmaking from ultra-talented but often erratic sixth man J.R. Smith when they visited the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. While it wasn't always pretty — five missed shots in 6 1/2 minutes of first-quarter work, 16 clanks overall, four turnovers mitigating his five assists — with the game on the line, it was effective enough to escape:
That, frankly, is just unfair to P.J. Tucker.
The Suns forward and defensive ace stayed with Smith through every move, juke and feint on the Knicks guard's top-of-the-key 18-footer, yet still had to watch it fall through to tie the game at 97 with 10.6 seconds to go. Then, after Tyson Chandler forced Phoenix point guard Sebastian Telfair to step out of bounds with one second remaining to give the Knicks one chance to win it in regulation, Tucker nimbly worked around Chandler's screen, stayed with Smith on his catch of Jason Kidd's inbounds bounce pass and was directly in J.R.'s mug, elevated and arm outstretched, as Smith let go a fallaway 21-footer from the left corner. Again, all P.J. could do was watch — J.R. had won this particular abbreviated first-names battle and the shorthanded Knicks had come away with a 99-97 road win.Read More »from J.R. Smith ties it, wins it with 2 tough jumpers in last 10 seconds to push Knicks past Suns (VIDEOS)