Slow starts, defensive issues and injury issues all seem like a distant memory even though this month began with all of them weighing on the Suns like lead jerseys. They dragged the Suns out of the playoff picture but a season-best six-game winning streak makes it seem almost as distant as last season. Suns guard Goran Dragic took care of Friday night's start with 18 first-quarter points. Suns forward P.J. Tucker led the defensive effort with exemplary work on the NBA's second-leading scorer, Carmelo Anthony. During the streak, the Suns have never looked quite as healthy in spirit and body as they did in throttling the playoff-chasing New York Knicks for a 112-88 rout at US Airways Center. The Suns (44-20) moved into seventh place in the Western Conference with a dominant effort that included the largest lead of the season, 32, a game after they led Washington by 25. Unlike that win, the outcome was never in danger with the Knicks shooting 40 percent and getting an opponent season-low tying 24 points in the paint. "It was our best performance of the year," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. The Suns turned a 22-19 deficit into a 62-40 halftime lead with the Knicks missing 11 of their final 13 shots of the half and the Suns storming to 15 first-half fast-break points. Phoenix closed the half on a 24-6 run with nine points from Marcus Morris and seven by Markieff Morris. "We weren't prepared for them and they ran us out of the gym," Anthony said. Anthony is a megastar but Dragic was the best player on the court, hitting 11 of 19 shots with relentless drives and 5-of-9 3-point shooting to finish with 32 points in 32 minutes. It was Dragic's ninth 30-point game of the season after posting three 30-point games in his first five seasons. Dragic added five stitches on his left eye to his tallies when he took a shot from New York center Tyson Chandler on a second-quarter loose-ball scramble. He ran off the court holding a towel to stop the blood but returned to start the second half, much to the Knicks' chagrin.
Phoenix Suns thrash New York Knicks at US Airways Center
Arizona Republic | Mar 29