Considering its efficiency, the team shouldn’t have much trouble against the inept New York Knicks.
Nash looks to lead the high-powered Suns to a fifth straight win Tuesday night when they visit a slumping Knicks team trying to avoid losing its sixth in a row.
Phoenix (14-3) has raced to the best record in the NBA behind a potent offense that leads the league in both scoring (112.0 points per game) and field goal shooting (50.7 percent). The Suns shot 51.2 percent from the floor in Sunday’s 113-94 win over Toronto, and are averaging 119.0 points on 57.5 percent shooting during their four-game winning streak.
Phoenix now gets to take on New York (3-14), which ranks 28th in the league in defense, allowing an average of 109.2 points. The defense has been especially bad lately, yielding an average of 117.7 points on 50.8 percent shooting in the last three games.
This soft defense is a by-product of coach Mike D’Antoni up-tempo offense, which he has continued to implement in his second season with the Knicks after spending the previous five with Phoenix.
Under D’Antoni, Nash won two league MVP awards, but the 35-year-old point guard seems to be playing even better this season, averaging an NBA-high and career-best 12.1 assists.
“I wouldn’t trade him for any guard in the league, I really wouldn’t,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said of Nash. “The way we play and what we want to do, he’s my guy. I wouldn’t trade him.”
Against the Raptors, Nash had 20 points and 16 assists, the sixth time this season he finished with at least 16 assists. He had 16 or more assists just five times in 74 games last season as Phoenix missed the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
“After last year’s disappointment it was really important to all of us,” Nash said of the team’s strong start. “It’s been a lot of fun for us to turn it around thus far but we have a lot of work to do and we have a lot of growing to do if we want to continue to win and beat good teams.”
The Knicks aren’t considered one of the league’s good teams.
New York is coming off a 114-102 loss to Orlando on Sunday, its fifth in a row and 11th in 13 games.
Sunday’s game was the first of a difficult stretch of four contests in six nights against teams playing .700 ball. After this game, the Knicks, who split the two games against the Suns last season, visit the Magic on Wednesday and travel to Atlanta on Friday.
“We just have to keep moving forward. As long as we get better, I think we’ve improved,” said reserve Nate Robinson(notes), who scored 22 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter Sunday. “We just haven’t got the ‘Ws’ to show for it, but as a team we feel confident. We feel good and we just have to get ready for the next one.”
New York’s Eddy Curry(notes) could miss his fourth straight game because of a sore left knee, while Suns reserve Leandro Barbosa(notes), who is averaging 11.6 points, is expected to be out after injuring his left ankle Sunday.