Smith lifts shorthanded Knicks over Suns

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Updated: December 27, 2012

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) – J.R. Smith hit two off-balanced jumpers in the
final 10.6 seconds, including a baseline 21-footer with a hand in his face as
time expired to give the short-handed New York Knicks a 99-97 victory over the
Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center.

With Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton sitting with injuries, Smith took the
big shots in crunch time, his first a fadeaway from the top of the key to tie
the game, 97-97, with 10.6 ticks to play.

Tyson Chandler then forced Sebastian Telfair to step out of bounds on the
ensuing possession, giving the Knicks the ball back with one second on the
clock.

A timeout put the ball along the sideline past midcourt, and Jason Kidd fed
Smith as he was falling away from the basket. Despite P.J. Tucker being draped
all over him, Smith rose and sent the ball through the hoop just as the clock
struck zero.

“He was incredible, but it was a total team effort tonight,” Knicks coach Mike
Woodson said about Smith. “It came down to one shot with one second on the
clock, a big shot.”

Smith finished with 27 points, while Jason Kidd added 23 points, eight assists
and six rebounds for New York, which was coming off a loss to the Lakers on
Christmas Day. Chandler totaled 14 points and 12 rebounds in the victory.

Smith’s efforts spoiled Jared Dudley’s career-high 36-point effort for the
Suns, losers of three straight on the heels of a four-game winning streak.

There were six ties and five lead changes in the fourth quarter. The Knicks
went on a 9-0 run to take a 95-90 lead with 3 1/2 minutes to play, but Phoenix
answered with the next seven points, going ahead by two on a pair of Dudley
free throws prior to Smith’s tying bucket.

An up-and-down first frame ended with the Suns leading, 29-27, but Chris
Copeland’s 10 second-quarter points helped the Knicks build a 55-44 lead at
the break.

The margin grew to as big as 14 in the third, but the Suns chipped away and
pulled even, 76-76, heading to the fourth.

“I thought we did a good job of fighting back but we’ve got to do something
about the second quarter. We just can’t seem to get that right and that’s
where all of our troubles started,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.

Game Notes

Anthony sat with a hyperextended left knee, while Felton is dealing with a
sprained finger … Copeland finished with 14 points … Marcin Gortat chipped
in 13 points and nine boards for Phoenix, which is still two wins shy of 2,000
all-time in franchise history.