“I didn’t think it was a very good performance at all,” Steve Nash said after Phoenix tied a team record with 16 3-pointers in a 133-118 victory Tuesday night. “We were really careless defensively, we gave up too many points, and even offensively I thought we weren’t as good as we can be.”
Quentin Richardson made seven 3-pointers, Jim Jackson added five and the Suns finished with the highest point total by a Knicks opponent since Portland scored 141 on Nov. 15, 1990, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“We’ve been putting a lot of points up on a lot of teams. That’s what we do — we’re a scoring team,” Nash said. “It’s a matter of getting our defense to a consistent level to see if we’re going to be a championship team or not.”
The loss was the seventh in a row for the struggling Knicks, who obviously have not latched onto new coach Herb Williams’ emphasis on defense.
The Suns scored nine more points than the previous season high for a Knicks opponent, and the 16 3-pointers were the most allowed in franchise history.
Stephon Marbury, who played his first game against the Suns since they dealt him to the Knicks last season, had 11 points, nine assists, six rebounds and five fouls.
New York is 1-11 since Marbury publicly declared himself the best point guard in the NBA, and the Knicks’ 17-24 record is exactly the same as it was at the midpoint of their season a year ago.
“Those guys play totally different basketball. They don’t play regular basketball. They just shoot 3s for days,” Marbury said.
Nash, the point guard who has led the Suns to the best start in franchise history, had nine points, seven assists and six rebounds. Phoenix, opening a six-game road trip, won its second in a row after a six-game losing streak.
Richardson shot 7-for-14 from behind the arc, while Jackson—in just his second game since being acquired from New Orleans—went 5-for-6 from 3-point range and 6-for-8 overall. Johnson added three 3-pointers.
“We were into a groove, and it kind of got contagious where everyone was hitting them,” Richardson said. “They went up and down with us a little bit.”
The Knicks got off to a good start and led 33-28 after the first quarter ended with Thomas sinking his first 3-pointer of the season for a 33-28 lead.
The Suns took control with a 14-2 run early in the second quarter, eventually stretching their lead to 107-88 on a 3-pointer by Richardson early in the fourth quarter.
The Knicks pulled to 120-112 with 3:15 left on Ariza’s follow dunk, but Marbury couldn’t handle a pass, Johnson scored on a drive and Richardson knocked in his final 3 to end the Knicks’ last chance.
It was the most points the Knicks have allowed at home since Golden State scored 134 on March 31, 1989. … New York placed F Tim Thomas on the injured list, hoping five or more games of rest will help cure the small forward’s nagging calf injury. The Knicks had only 11 players in uniform, with Moochie Norris ineligible to be activated. Norris spent his fifth straight game on the injured list and should be back in uniform Friday night vs. Cleveland. … Chronic knee soreness sidelined Knicks G Allan Houston for the third straight game. … The Suns snapped a four-game road losing streak and improved to 4-4 on the road vs. Eastern Conference teams.