The New York Knicks (22–18) lost to the Phoenix Suns (18–21) at Madison Square Garden on Monday 129–121 in their second and final matchup of the season. The Knicks recorded a commanding 121–96 win over the Suns in Phoenix earlier this month.
Vince Carter, recently traded to the Suns from the Orlando Magic, passed a significant career milestone in Monday’s game—the eight-time All-Star became one of only eight active NBA players to score more than 20,000 points.
“They beat us pretty good last time and it was still my first couple of games there, so I just felt like I could have given this team more,” a humble Carter said after the game. “Now that I feel more comfortable, I see where I can get my shots or just make plays for the team.”
Carter only needed nine points coming into Monday’s game to pass that milestone, and it proved an easy feat. He did it early in the second quarter off foul shots and finished the first half with 15 points and 29 for the night to lead the Suns.
Carter joins Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Ray Allen, Tim Duncan, and Paul Pierce on the eight man active roster to break 20,000 points, as well as 29 former NBA players.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 38,387 points, followed by Karl Malone with 36,928 points, and Michael Jordon with 32,292 points.
The Knicks loss came despite a stellar 41-point contribution from the team’s go-to man Amar’e Stoudemire.
Stoudemire picked up his 12th technical foul of the season midway through the first quarter of the game to pull within four of the penalty mark, but that didn’t slow down his offensive tenacity. He carried the Knicks with 15 points in the first quarter and had 19 for the half.
The Suns got the game off to a great start pulling ahead by as much as 12 points in the first quarter before the Knicks made a run at the end to finish the quarter down 39–30.
The Knicks continued their run into the second quarter and quickly tied the score at 41–41 after coming alive from beyond the arc. The Knicks outscored the Suns 34–22 in the second quarter with big contributions from Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari to end the half up 64–61.
The Suns maintained a tight lead for much of the second half as veteran point guard Steve Nash ran the offense and got the whole team involved in scoring.
Grant Hill added 25 points for the Suns and the entire starting lineup reached double-digit scoring while the bench contributed a total of 30 points.
“I don’t like to think of things in terms of retribution and payback, but it didn’t feel good to get smashed at home, so it was a rewarding win today,” Nash said.
Monday’s game was the Knicks third straight loss and the Suns’ third straight win. Phoenix matched their season high in scoring.
The Knicks set out on a three-game road tour on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma City Thunder.