The New York Knicks dug deeper into the red on Monday night after a nail-biting 95–93 loss to the Utah Jazz at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are now 1–7 and better than only one team in the Eastern Conference—the 0–7 New Jersey Jets just across the river.
Utah opened up early against the Knicks, outscoring them 25–16 in the first quarter and carried the momentum into halftime with a 48–31 lead. The Knicks failed to hit a single three-pointer in 10 attempts in the first half and were a deplorable 3–8 in free throws.
The tide turned for the Knicks in the second half though with a 33-point scoring surge in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was the reverse of the first, with the Knicks outscoring the Jazz by 12 points to bring them to within two points with seconds to go.
But their second half surge wasn’t enough to get the job done, despite a remarkable effort from bench guard Tony Douglas who had a team high 21 points. Wilson Chandler went 8–15 for 17 points and had ten rebounds and two assists.
Jazz forwards Andrei Kirilenko and Carlos Boozer tied for game highs of 23 points. Kirilenko also had six rebounds and six assists and Boozer was 3–4 from three point land.
Jazz point guard Deron Williams racked up an impressive 16 assists and scored five points but was bone dry from deep. It was the first win for the Jazz at the Garden since 2004.
The Knicks square up against the 5–2 Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, again at the Garden.
Suns Rally Over Sixers
Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns kept the fire burning on Monday, this time in Philadelphia squeaking past the 76ers 119–115.
The Suns were slow to act in the first half, with the 76ers leading 66–54 at half time. But like the Knicks, they rallied in the third quarter to outscore the Sixers by 10 and continued the surge in the fourth quarter.
The win featured 29 points from guard Jason Richardson and an astounding 21 points and 20 assists from all-star point guard Nash. This is the latest sign that the Suns are serious about making up for last year’s disappointing playoff miss.
“I told the guys to hold them to 102 [points]. We are struggling offensively, which has put a lot of undue pressure on us defensively. Defensively we were active. We forced 20 turnovers and 23 points off turnovers, which kept us in the game. We just have to keep on grinding,” Suns coach Flip Saunders said after the game.
Monday’s win marked the first time since 1990 that the Suns scored over 100 points in their first eight games of the season.
The Suns are now 7–1. They are tied with the Boston Celtics for the best record in the NBA and play against New Orleans on Wednesday on their home court.