Knicks fall short against the Suns

December 15, 2008 9:26:53 PM PST
Mike D'Antoni got a warm welcome in his return to Phoenix, but frigid long-range shooting doomed his New York Knicks in a 111-103 loss to the Suns on Monday night. Steve Nash, whose career flourished in D'Antoni's four seasons as Phoenix coach, scored 21 points, including a game-clinching 3-pointer with 28 seconds to play. D'Antoni's run-and-shoot squad was just 5-of-37 on 3-pointers. The Knicks tied their franchise record for 3-pointers attempted, set earlier this season against Cleveland.

Shaquille O'Neal had 23 points, making 11 of 18 free throws, and 12 rebounds. Amare Stoudemire added 21 points and 14 boards for the Suns, who topped 110 points for the fourth game in a row.

Nate Robinson scored 27, 17 after halftime, in his second game back from a groin injury for New York. Al Harrington added 24.

The crowd gave D'Antoni a long, loud standing ovation when he was introduced as Knicks coach before the game. The cheering didn't stop until the lights were turned out in preparation for introduction of the Suns.

New York was on the fourth stop of a five-game road trip that concludes Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

O'Neal returned after missing two games following a family death and joined newcomer Jason Richardson, in the starting lineup in his second game since coming to Phoenix in a trade with Charlotte. Richardson had 16 points.

Nash had the only two field goals for Phoenix in the last 10:05.

The 5-foot-9 Robinson brought the Knicks back. He sank a high-arching 10-footer over the 7-1 O'Neal, made a 3-pointer and sank an 18-footer in a 9-2 spurt that cut it to 98-95 with 5:38 to play. The Knicks had a chance to make it closer on a 3-on-1 break but Wilson Chandler drew an offensive foul, his sixth.

Phoenix used a 22-4 run to take a 32-15 lead on Stoudemire's driving layup with 2:29 left in the first quarter, and never trailed again. Richardson made a 3-pointer with 51 seconds left and Phoenix led 62-51 at the break.

The Knicks were 2-for-19 on 3s in the first half.

New York twice cut the lead to five in the third quarter, but the Suns regained control with a 10-0 run that boosted the lead to 81-66. The Knicks rallied, but Richardson's 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds to play put Phoenix ahead 91-81 entering the fourth.

Notes: New York has lost five straight in Phoenix. ... New York's Jared Jeffries left with a sore left leg in the second quarter. ... D'Antoni had a 253-136 record in four-plus seasons with Phoenix.