New York (2-3) at Phoenix (5-2)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 105° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Tue Nov 13, 2007
  • TV: MSG
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Phoenix Suns have been forced to make some adjustments to their lineup because of injuries to Raja Bell and Amare Stoudemire. With a deep roster, it hasn’t mattered much lately.

The Suns seek their third straight win Tuesday when they host the New York Knicks.

Phoenix (5-2) is coming off a 106-96 win over the Orlando Magic on Saturday. Steve Nash had 19 points and 11 assists while Leandro Barbosa - starting for the first time this season in place of the injured Bell - led the Suns with 39 points on 15-of-26 shooting, making eight of their 12 3-pointers.

“I’m not surprised,” coach Mike D’Antoni said of Barbosa, who also had seven rebounds and six assists. “I’m glad he did. He has been struggling a little with his shot. … Tonight, he just got a couple easy ones at first and just took off.”

Barbosa, the 2007 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, is averaging 18.6 points. He came into the game shooting 42.9 percent from the field but was only 17 of 49 (34.7 percent) in his previous three games before Saturday’s victory.

“Coach always tells me to keep shooting,” Barbosa said. “He says if you are open to shoot it. Today I was feeling great - maybe I am not struggling anymore. You have to be patient when you are struggling.”

Bell, who sprained his right ankle in Friday’s victory over the Miami Heat, is questionable for this game, and Barbosa could possibly start again.

Stoudemire, who missed three games earlier this month because of knee pain, had 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting on Sunday.

“Right now Amare’s knees and legs are fine, he’s just out of shape,” D’Antoni said. “But in a week or so he’ll be fine.”

The Knicks (2-3) come to Phoenix having lost two straight, including a frustrating 75-72 defeat to the Miami Heat on Sunday. New York led by five with 2 1/2 minutes left, but made key mistakes down the stretch before point guard Stephon Marbury missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer.

It is unclear if Marbury will play Tuesday after skipping the morning shootaround. The New York Daily News quoted an unidentified team source that Marbury was upset about learning he would not be in the starting lineup for this game.

“We hope to see him tonight,” Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. “However, if he is not, make no mistake about it, we do want him as a member of this basketball team.”

Marbury is averaging a career-low 15.2 points this season, shooting 40 percent from the field, but leads the Knicks with 6.8 assists per game.

He is one of three regular starters New York could be missing. Quentin Richardson left Sunday’s game with a hyperextended right elbow, and Zach Randolph did not play after returning home last Friday following the death of his grandmother.

Randolph is averaging team highs of 20.3 points and 13.5 rebounds.

“It hurt a lot,” New York’s Eddy Curry said of Randolph’s absence. “He was definitely missed. My heart and prayers go out to him and his family, but we definitely missed him.”

Without him, the Knicks shot just 37.3 percent from the field. New York came into the game having scored more than 100 points in three of its first four games and shooting 47.9 percent.

The Knicks now begin a four-game West Coast road trip that also includes games against the Clippers, Kings and Nuggets.

New York, which has lost four straight games at Phoenix, was swept in last season’s series.

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Tuesday, Nov 13