Knicks Coast To Another Win Over Suns

Published on: 2nd December, 2012

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raymond felton
Knicks Coast To Another Win Over Suns

Raymond Felton injures thumb  | read this item

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New York – It is certainly a sign of progress for the Knicks when they can go up against a lower to middle-echelon NBA team like the Phoenix Suns, for example, and win these types of games while playing methodically or without a great deal of the passion or verve usually reserved for teams like the Lakers, Heat, Celtics, Thunder, or Spurs. Today was a perfect example as the Knicks took a 17-point halftime lead and coasted the rest of the way to a 106-99 victory over an overmatched but hard-working Suns (7-11)  team.

Although the game did get closer in the second half, when Phoenix scrapped their way to within four points with 29 seconds left in the game, you never got the feeling the Knicks would give up the lead. They remained in control from the get go.

“Every game is not going to be a runaway for us,” said Knicks coach Mike Woodson. “You have to give them credit, they played hard. They were scrapping down the stretch and made a game of it. We were able to close it out and get the “W.” That is what counts.”

Despite the Knicks continuing their fun ride this season without Jason Kidd (for the third straight game), Amare Stoudemire, and Iman Shumpert, three players who would be logging a lot of minutes for this team, the Knicks have put together some very impressive statistics early in the season.

They raised their record to 12-4 (7-0 at home) and continue to hold onto first place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Their 7-0 home record is the best start at home since the 1992-93 season. This is also the fastest a Knicks team has reached 12 wins since the 1983-84 season, when it won it’s 12th game on December 1, 1983.

In other words, this team is rolling and, given the injuries, much of the credit goes to the Knicks depth along its bench.

“I think our team is deep enough and I feel good about anybody in our uniform,” Woodson said. “Today, Cope (Chris Copeland) really stepped up and helped us in the first half.”

All Copeland did was to come in for Rasheed Wallace, who stunningly received two technical fouls in the first 11 minutes of the game leading to his expulsion, and scored eight points on four of five shooting from the floor. In his eight minute stint, Copeland added three rebounds and two assists in his best showing of the season.

Tyson Chandler, who finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, recognizes the importance of having a strong bench.

“Cope did a great job for us, today,” said Chandler. “He’s a great offensive player who we needed today. I think we have the personnel to accomplish some great things this year. It’s going to be a long year and we have a great combination of young players and shooters.”

Raymond Felton, who finished with 23 points and seven assists, was heard afterwards telling Knicks coach, Mike Woodson outside of the Knicks locker room, “I don’t think it’s broken.” Felton later admitted to injuring his left thumb late in the game, adding he was going to get an MRI exam straight from the Garden. He did say he had previously fractured that same thumb in college.

“I’m going to get it checked out, now. It’s swollen, I’m in a lot of pain, but we’ll see what happens. It got jammed between another player and I don’t know – just a lot of pain in my thumb.”

Felton went for MRI exam after game

“If it were up to me, I wouldn’t miss any time…But, we’re going to get an MRI now so we’ll just see what happens. I was able to finish the game with it not wrapped, so I should be just fine.”

But, given the Knicks depth at the point guard, with a very competent pass-first player in Pablo Prigioni as the third-stringer, the position should be in good hands for their upcoming game against Charlotte. The question is, if Felton can’t suit up, who would be the backup point guard. Hello Carmelo Anthony?  Or, perhaps, Jason Kidd will be ready to come back from his three-game respite for a sore back.

The type of age this Knicks team carries, with its average age of 32.1, has Woodson fully aware of the importance of utilizing and trusting every player at his disposal. So far, he’s had a magic touch with how he’s used his players. The guess is, he’ll need to work that magic the rest of the season.

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