The Phoenix Suns could not close out the New York Knicks late, and ended up losing 99-97 in the last second of the game. After Sebastian Telfair stepped out of bounds to give New York the ball with one second left, J.R. Smith ran a curl down the left baseline and sank a 21-foot leaning jumper at the buzzer to steal the victory over the Suns. Smith finished the game scoring a season-high 27 points off the bench.
The game went back-and-forth in the final minute. The Suns had the ball with 46.3 seconds left and the score tied at 95 apiece. Jared Dudley got fouled and made both free throws to give Phoenix a 97-95 lead with 34.5 seconds left. J.R. Smith made a fade-away jumper from the top of the key with 1.5 seconds left on the shot clock to tie the score at 97. The Suns had 10.6 seconds left in the game to get one shot off for the win, but Sebastian Telfair dribbled the ball out-of-bounds, giving the Knicks the final shot with one second to go, and that’s all the Knicks would need.
The New York Knicks were coming off of a 100-96 loss to the Lakers the night before, and were playing without Carmelo Anthony (hyperextended knee), Raymond Felton (fractured finger), Rasheed Wallace (sore left foot), and Amare Stoudemire, who has yet to play for New York this season. It was the perfect opportunity for the Suns to steal one on their home court against New York (21-8), who have only lost back-to-back games once all season.
The first quarter was close throughout, with five ties and three lead changes. Tyson Chandler would score eight for the Knicks, and J.R. Smith would finish with seven in the first period. Chandler finished the game scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. The Knicks would outscore the Suns 10-2 in fast break points, but Jared Dudley would score 13 to give the Suns a 29-27 first quarter lead. After the great start, Dudley would finish the game scoring a career-high 36 points.
The second quarter saw the Suns bench struggle, while Chris Copeland came off the Knicks bench to score 10 points, including eight straight, and back-to-back three pointers with the score knotted at 37-37. Copeland gave the Knicks a 54-43 lead when he sank a 20-footer to finish an 11-2 Knicks run. Goran Dragic was injured when he was fouled on his way to the basket by J.R. Smith with 22 seconds remaining in the half. Smith was called for a flagrant 1 foul, and Dragic would not return the remainder of the game. The Suns shot 28.6 percent in the quarter, including 0 for 4 from three, and trailed 54-44 at halftime.
Shortly after Jason Kidd scored the first eight points for New York, J.R. Smith hit a jumper to give the Knicks a 68-54 lead halfway through the third. Kidd would finish the game scoring a season-high 23, including 5 of 8 from three, and dishing out eight assists. The Suns made a push late in the quarter, outscoring New York 17-4, and briefly taking a two point lead. Jared Dudley would lead the way, scoring nine points on 3 of 4 from three, with Marcin Gortat and Sebastian Telfair both adding six. Gortat would just miss a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the game. With Dragic out of the game Telfair played all 24 minutes of the second half and finished with 11 points and four assists.
After scoring the fewest points all season in the second quarter (15), and shooting 1 for 8 from three in the first half, the Suns scored 32 in the third period, including 5 of 8 from three, to tie the score at 76-76 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter went back and forth, just like the first quarter, with six ties and five lead changes. Neither team would lead by more than five, with the game going down to the final shot. The Suns scored a total of 61 points in the first and third quarters, while scoring only 36 in the second and fourth combined. The Knicks bench outscored the Suns 54-27. It was the ninth game decided by three points or less for the Suns this season, with Phoenix going 4-5 in those games.
The Suns (11-18) play the Indiana Pacers (16-12) next on Dec. 28, in their first of a three game road series.