Smith lifts shorthanded Knicks over Suns
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - J.R. Smith hit two off-balanced jumpers in the final 10.6 seconds, including a baseline 21-footer with a hand in his face as time expired to give the short-handed New York Knicks a 99-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center.
With Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton sitting with injuries, Smith took the big shots in crunch time, his first a fadeaway from the top of the key to tie the game, 97-97, with 10.6 ticks to play.
Tyson Chandler then forced Sebastian Telfair to step out of bounds on the ensuing possession, giving the Knicks the ball back with one second on the clock.
A timeout put the ball along the sideline past midcourt, and Jason Kidd fed Smith as he was falling away from the basket. Despite P.J. Tucker being draped all over him, Smith rose and sent the ball through the hoop just as the clock struck zero.
"He was incredible, but it was a total team effort tonight," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said about Smith. "It came down to one shot with one second on the clock, a big shot."
Smith finished with 27 points, while Jason Kidd added 23 points, eight assists and six rebounds for New York, which was coming off a loss to the Lakers on Christmas Day. Chandler totaled 14 points and 12 rebounds in the victory.
Smith's efforts spoiled Jared Dudley's career-high 36-point effort for the Suns, losers of three straight on the heels of a four-game winning streak.
There were six ties and five lead changes in the fourth quarter. The Knicks went on a 9-0 run to take a 95-90 lead with 3 1/2 minutes to play, but Phoenix answered with the next seven points, going ahead by two on a pair of Dudley free throws prior to Smith's tying bucket.
An up-and-down first frame ended with the Suns leading, 29-27, but Chris Copeland's 10 second-quarter points helped the Knicks build a 55-44 lead at the break.
The margin grew to as big as 14 in the third, but the Suns chipped away and pulled even, 76-76, heading to the fourth.
"I thought we did a good job of fighting back but we've got to do something about the second quarter. We just can't seem to get that right and that's where all of our troubles started," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.
Anthony sat with a hyperextended left knee, while Felton is dealing with a sprained finger ... Copeland finished with 14 points ... Marcin Gortat chipped in 13 points and nine boards for Phoenix, which is still two wins shy of 2,000 all-time in franchise history.