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Suns vs. Knicks Final Score: Hustling Suns win on a Booker bomb, 116-113

Eric Gordon scores a season-high 25 points as the Suns outlast the Knicks in the Garden.

Phoenix Suns v New York Knicks Photo by Rich Graessle/Getty Images

The Suns were without Kevin Durant for the second consecutive game, and it was Eric Gordon who picked up the scoring slack for Phoenix. EG had a season-high in scoring, pouring in 25 points, including 6-of-9 from deep.

You may say that the Phoenix Suns do not have a point guard. You may be wrong. Devin Booker didn’t have his best night shooting from the field, but it was his playmaking coupled with the engagement of his teammates around him that equated to the Suns’ success tonight. Booker ended the evening with 28 points, 11 assists, and only 2 turnovers. And one hell of a nice play to end the game.

Jalen, Brunson was a Suns killer, as his standard operating procedure as he had 35 points. Julius Randle Added 28 points, but it was not enough as the Suns downed the Knicks 116-113 and moved their winning streak to seven games.

Jordan Goodwin was stellar off the bench for Phoenix, scoring 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including a pair of big three-pointers. Phoenix surprisingly won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Knicks 47-38.

The win pushed the Suns to an 11-6 record and the third seed in the Western Conference.

Game Flow

First Half

The injury carousel continued as Yuta Wantanbe and Drew Eubanks — both who recently missed time — were available while Grayson Allen (illness) was out. Kevin Durant? A game-time decision after missing the Suns’ game on Friday with foot soreness, KD did his normal workout routine prior to the start of the game. The final decision was to allow him more time to rest and he would not play.

For the 7th time in 17 games, Phoenix would put only one of their big three in the starting lineup. 12 games they’ve had two, 0 games they’ve had all three.

Devin Booker would joined by Jusuf Nurkic and Eric Gordan in the starting lineup, as well as Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop. It was the first time Okogie would be a starter since the tenth game of the season against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Eric Gordon provided early firepower with three three-pointers from Park Avenue. They were deeeeep. Gordon has provided stability in the Suns starting lineup, even though he was brought to Phoenix, not necessarily to fulfill that role. He had 11 of the Suns’ first 15 points.

Phoenix appeared to be focused on getting out and running, utilizing the athleticism of KBD and Josh Okogie to their benefit. Less half-court sets and more pressure on a Knicks defense that plays well in the half-court was the recipe.

Gordon’s effectiveness and ability to score allowed Frank Vogel to buy extra minutes to rest Devin Booker. He did so by the Suns’ lone superstar halfway through the first quarter. The “other guys” held court with Booker out as Phoenix went on a 9-5 run with him out.

Jordan Goodwin has a solid start with two aggressive takes to the cylinder, scoring 4 points in the first. Drew Eubanks retired, and he did so with Chimezie Metu playing the power forward position.

Jalen Brunson was aggressive, as per usual, attacking the mid-range. He had 12 of the Knicks’ 22 points, doing so on 6-of-8 shooting. Booker only had 2 points in the first, but had 4 assists. Suns up 34-22 after the first.

The Knicks entered as the top team in the NBA regarding total rebounds, grabbing 47.3 a game. In the first half, however, it was the Suns who were aggressive on the glass. They were effectively boxing out and outrebounded the Knicks 30-18 including 13-5 on the offensive glass.

A rough shooting half for Booker — he went 2-of-8 for 8 points — didn’t stop him from affecting the game. His lockdown defense and facilitation set the tone for his teammates. He ended the first half with 7 assists.

Brunson continued to be a problem, scoring 20 points through two quarters. Heading into the locker room, the Suns were up 64-56.

Second Half

Eric Gordon continued his hot hand to open the third, knocking down two more three-pointers, putting his total at six. This surpassed his season high of five, which he made against the Utah Jazz last week.

Devin Booker began to feel more comfortable, opening the half with 7 quick points.

The Knicks put a 10-0 run on the Suns midway through the third quarter, shrinking the Phoenix lead to 3 points. This created muted rest for Booker. Julius Randle, who was ominously quiet in the first half, was the catalyst for the push.

Randle had 17 points in the third.

Jalen Brunson’s fireballing jump shots had him eclipse the 30-point mark with 3:28 left in the third, doing so on 13-of-19 shooting. It isn’t the first time Brunson has punished the Suns…

With three minutes left in Q3, the Suns’ 15-point lead was gone. An 18-5 run gave them their first lead of the game.

Phoenix was outscored 36-31 in the third quarter, and a late three-pointer by Jordan Goodwin put the Suns up 95-92 after three.

Energy levels were high entering the fourth quarter as the hustle and intensity on the boards that we witnessed in the first half were back. It was clear that New York had talked about this very facet of the game at halftime, and they controlled the glass in the third. But early on in the fourth, the Suns’ engagement was apparent.

The exclamation point in this? A Nassir Little slam after another offensive rebound.

As Devin Booker sat for a final rest, you could feel the Knicks lock in on defense themselves. New York is a defensively-minded team that has the ability to shut down opponents for stretches of the game. They rotate well and close out on opposing shooters and, without a primary playmaker on the court, New York was doing a great job of cutting off the driving lanes.

Jordan Goodwin had a stellar second half as he defined the hustle that Phoenix was playing with. Grabbing offensive rebounds, deflecting passes, and finishing both from beyond the arc and around the rim, Goodwin’s minutes were some of the best he’s played all season.

With five minutes left in the game, the Suns led 107-104. This would be a “Clutch Minutes” game. Brunson then tied it with a three-pointer.

The Suns deployed some “Hack-a-Mitchell-Robinson”, seeing as he is a 36.7% free-throw shooter, but the plan backfired as the officials called it a take foul. Thankfully Brunson missed the free throw. Respectively, it was a lame call.

The back-and-forth ensued.

The Suns, up 113-111, allowed the shot clock to expire with 41.7 left in the game. Brunson scored his 35th point on a 15-foot jumper that tied the game with 21.7 seconds left.

This left the Suns with the final shot. That shot? A fadeaway 25-foot three-pointer. And he netted it.

Suns win, 116-113.

Up Next

The Suns head north of the border as Devin Booker renews his rivalry with the Toronto Raptors’ mascot. The Raptors are currently .500 at 8-8 and 5-4 at home. We’ll see you Wednesday at 5:30pm AZ time!

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