Knicks unable to contain Booker, fall 118-97 to Suns
The game was a complete mismatch from the beginning. The Knicks were simply unable to stop Devin Booker & the Phoenix Suns and collapsed 118-97 at the Garden on Friday night.
Booker scored 21 points in the first half and 11 points in the third quarter to tie a second-best franchise record 15 game winning streak. Not only that the Suns were the best shooting team in the NBA, last night they shot 55.7%, the best they shot this year. Chris Paul shot less but led the floor like a true general. He finished in double-double with 14 points and 10 assists.
The Knicks were able to compete for just under 10 minutes, the Suns’ tempo was just too much. The way they moved the ball, shot it and the pressure they put on the Knicks’ offense were too much to handle.
Kemba Walker led the Knicks with 17 points. Evan Fournier had a good start going 3-3 from long distance in the first quarter. But for the rest of the contest he simply faded. He made just one more field goal and went 0-4 from behind the arc in the other three quarters to finish with 11 points on a 4-15 shooting.
With Derrick Rose missing another night, Immanuel Quickley was once again the go-to guy. He scored 16 points off the bench while shooting 6-9 from the field and is slowly getting more and more recognition from not only the coach but his team mates as well for the hard work his putting on both ends of the floor.
Julius Randle finished for the first time this season in single digits. With just 9 points and 6 rebounds in 32 minutes, the All Star was sent to the showers by coach Thibodeau as soon as he took him out with 4 minutes still to go in the fourth quarter. Thibs threw in the reserves and allowed Kevin Knox, Jericho Sims and Miles McBride to end the game.
“We’re behind, you’re just looking for any type of spark you can get. We were looking for some energy. I didn’t think our energy was where it normally is.”
– Tom Thibodeau
The Suns dished out 28 assists and outscored the Knicks both in the paint (44-34) and on fast break (17-10). They also committed less turnovers (11-16) and had more steals (10-7) than the Knicks. The Knicks on the other hand rebounded the ball better on the offensive side (17-1).
For the Knicks, this was the seventh straight loss to the Pheonix Suns, whom they haven’t defeated since the 2017-18 season. Now they’re gonna have to face the team that eliminated them in the first round of the 2021 playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks. Being a back-to-back game the question raises whether Kemba Walker will play tonight or not. Rose is currently ruled out for the time being and with Walker still not getting cleared to play back to back games we might either not see him at all or just in limited minutes.
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Up-next: The Knicks (10-9) travel to Atlanta to take on Trae Young’s Hawks (11-9) from 7:30pm. The Hawks are 8-1 at home.