New Year. New Suns? Nope!
The Phoenix Suns visited the New York Knicks for an afternoon affair in NYC and carried into 2023 the sub-par play they ended 2022 with. Phoenix didn’t give themselves a chance in this one, opening the game with their worst first quarter of the season. They scored 11 points in the first, allowed an 18-0 run in the second, and never got closer than 18 points. Then they lost.
Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson combined for 52 points for the Knickerbockers. The five starters for the Suns combined for 43 points.
Phoenix is now 20-18 on the season, and the team that was in first place just a month ago is spiraling out of control and out of the playoff picture. With their loss today, the team is 1.5 games form being the 11th seed.
Cheers to the New Year!
The first quarter. Woof.
Phoenix shot 2-of-12 to open the game, doing so in the first six minutes. Meanwhile they allowed the Knicks to run off 14 consecutive points. Once again, the Suns would spend the game trying to dig out of the deficit they created with poor play early in the game.
Suns gave up hitting baskets for New Year’s. 2-of-12 start to 2023. pic.twitter.com/D0iowTQXGo— Suns JAM Session Podcast (@SunsJAM) January 2, 2023
Deandre Ayton scored 6 of the Suns first 9 points and was the only member of the team who could make a basket. While he went 3-of-6 in the first, the rest of the team was 2-of-16.
With so many misses, coupled with the Knicks size, New York dominated the glass. The Suns had 0 offensive rebounds, thus 0 second chance points. Julius Randle had 9 points when the Suns met earlier this year. He had 11 in the first alone, along with 8 rebounds.
Phoenix held the Knicks to 24 points, but scored only 11 themselves. 11!
The shots started falling for the Knicks and the second quarter, as they hit 12 of their first 13 shots in the period. The Suns? They continued to look hungover from a New Year’s party two nights ago. The Knicks pieced together an 18-0 run in the second, leading 52-20 with 4:28 left in the half.
Phoenix, who entered with the 3rd best three point shooting percentage in the league, shot 3-of-17 from deep (17.6%) and were outrebounded 28 to 14. The Knicks had 11 free throws to the Suns 2, which Josh Okogie missed.
Nothing was clicking. Nothing. I’ve felt better hugging the porcelain throne than I did watching this first half. Three of the five starters did not score in the first half. Not exactly what you would call a recipe for success. We haven’t seen a first half this bad by the Phoenix Suns since, um, Game 7 against Jalen Brunson and the Dallas Mavericks.
Deandre was the only bright spot, and the only member of the team to shoot and double figures in the first half. The big fella had 12 points and 2 boards.
The Suns closed on a 11-2 run. Knicks 54, Suns 31.
Monty probably talking about “god gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers” at halftime— Serg Caraveo (@SergingSuns) January 2, 2023
Chris Paul and Torrey Craig decided in the third quarter that they would finally contribute points to the box score as both scored their first points.
Julius Randle began hearing it from the crowd, as “MVP” chants echoed through the Garden while he shot free throws in the third period. He was effective on the boards, hitting three-pointers, and getting to the line. He was an vital part of a 10-0 third-quarter run for New York.
It came to the point in which we were all wondering the same thing. Where is Ish Wainwright and where is Duane Washington, Jr.? Where are players who play with passion and have the ability to put the ball in the basket?
Typically not a ringing endorsement on the state of the roster when so many people are clamoring for more minutes for the two-way guys (and are right to do so)— Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) January 2, 2023
The Suns out scored the next 27 -25 in the third quarter, trailing 79-58 as we entered the fourth.
There were a few bright spots in the fourth quarter, like the Suns taking that little orange ball and putting it through the basket. That was a pleasant change of pace.The Suns tried to fight, but the Knicks were on one. Any time in Phoenix, with the three, New York would answer.
It was a putrid night no matter the statistics you viewed. Phoenix shot 39.1% from the field. They shot 27% from deep. They were outrebounded. The Knicks shot 18 more free throws. The Knicks had 4 more assists. They scored 8 more points in the paint.
Phoenix scored a season low 88 points while playing in Philadelphia on November 11. They would surpass that low, scoring 83 points in NYC.
Phoenix heads to Cleveland to finish up their six-game road trip against the Cavaliers on Wednesday. The Cavs present a tough defensive challenge as their the top team in the league relative to defensive rating.
We’ll see you then.