Where: Madison Square Garden
When: 11:00 AM (AZ) 1:00 PM (East Coast)
Watch: FSAZ (locally), NBA League Pass
Listen: AZ Sports 98.7 FM
After losing six straight games, the Phoenix Suns (13-14) bounced back with a grind it out win against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday. They'll continue their short three game road trip with a stop at the basketball Mecca to take on the struggling New York Knicks. Despite their struggles to protect the home court, the Phoenix Suns have been good on the road, and have stayed in the Western Conference playoff race by feasting off of lowly Eastern Conference teams. The Suns have a nice breakfast of New York Knicks (5-23) waiting for them, and they should be licking their chops.
The Knicks have been really bad. Like, catastrophically bad. They've already put together respective seven and ten game losing streaks, and are in the midst of a three game losing streak coming into Saturday's game. Things are looking even worse for the Knicks, with Carmelo Anthony being advised to sit out the next few weeks with a knee injury (he did not play against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday). He is listed as questionable against the Suns. J.R. Smith is doubtful with a heel injury.
Probable starting lineups
Suns: Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris, Alex Len
Knicks: Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr., Carmelo Anthony (Or Travis Wear, if Melo sits), A'mare Stoudemire, Cole Aldrich
What to watch for
This largely depends on whether Melo plays or not, but the Suns should still approach the game the same way. Melo is by far the best player on this team, and P.J. Tucker will have his work cut out for him on defense if he plays. However, the Knicks are still a horrible team, even with Anthony getting his 23 points per game.
The next biggest threat on the Knicks is A'mare Stoudemire, who has looked much more like himself this season, with 13.4 PPG and 7.4 RPG averages. Stoudemire has stayed healthy this season (get this: he's one of four players who have played in at least 27 of the Knicks 28 games). He's not the STAT we all remember, but he is still capable of putting up big numbers. Markieff Morris will have to keep up with him.
Other than that, there's not a whole lot to get excited about on this Knicks team. Hardaway Jr. will fill the J.R. Smith role and chuck away, but he only shoots 39%. They have two sneaky point guards in Jose Calderon and Pablo Prigoni, but the Suns point guards should murder these guys. Shane Larkin gave the Suns fits last season when he was on Dallas, but he should be easily contained.
There are zero excuses here. The Suns have already given up too many easy ones to bad, bad teams, and New York is truly one of the worst. The Knicks are 29th in points per game, and are a middle of the pack defensive team. This has to be an easy win for the Suns, but they cannot stroll into Madison Square Garden expecting to win. They need to come out focused, and rip the heart out before the Knicks even have a chance to compete in this game.
Prediction: Suns 120, Knicks 105