Well, it wasn't the 48 minutes of blowout predicted by Turumbar in his pre pre-game thread diary, but the end result is still a double-digit mark in the win column for the Suns. The game started out looking like vintage Suns basketball with lots of crisp passing, and the guys looked like they were just having fun playing together en route to an early lead. Then, the dreaded "relax and let them back in" bug hit, and stayed there for most of the second and third quarters. The game slowed down, and the intensity level seemed on par with the average All-Star game at times. The Knicks even took the lead briefly in the third, and trailed by only one entering the fourth. But the Suns saved their best on both ends of the floor for the fourth quarter, holding the Knicks to 20 while scoring 30 themselves. Grant Hill led the charge with nine straight points in a run that broke open the game and put the Knicks at arms length, where they stayed for the rest of the game. In the end, the Suns ended up with what they had the last time they faced the Knicks--an 11-point victory.
Player of the Game: It's hard to turn down Amare Stoudemire's 28 point, 12-rebound night with his 12-of-17 shooting. But I have to go with Grant Hill. He shot even better (13-of-17), and was within shouting distance of a triple-double with eight rebounds and seven assists to go with his 28 points. Most importantly, he made the biggest impact during that stretch of the fourth quarter that opened up the game for good. Probably his best game in a Suns uniform to date.
Runner-Up: Eddy Curry had the best line for the Knicks, however, I'm going to put Amare here. He took full advantage of the Knicks' inability (including Curry's) to guard him when he rolled to the basket again and again for dunks and layups.
Grading the Game: "A" for the first few minutes (which were really fun to watch and made me wish I could be there), "C" for the middle two quarters, and back to "A" again for that stretch in the fourth. I'll split the difference and call it a "B", with an extra kudo to Mike D'Antoni for a nice distribution of minutes (nine guys in, and nobody more than 38).