|Toronto’s Jarrett Jack had to reach back to score over the defense of Washington’s Nick Young and Brendan Haywood. (Chris Young/Associated Press)|
Woeful Knicks blow out Suns
NBA’s best can’t match D’Antoni
Mike D’Antoni’s offense was as spectacular against the Suns as it used to be with them.
And after watching his New York Knicks blow it open early and pour it on late, he was able to relax in the final minutes for one of the few times since he left Phoenix.
Danilo Gallinari had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and the Knicks beat the Suns, 126-99, last night at Madison Square Garden, snapping a five-game losing streak and giving their coach a resounding victory over his old team.
“If we can bottle this up,’’ D’Antoni said. “As a matter of fact, I didn’t know how to conduct myself the last five minutes. I didn’t know who to put in, when to put them in. It’s been a while.’’
David Lee scored 24 points and Al Harrington 22 for the Knicks, who rang up a season-best 71 first-half points, then put it away when Gallinari scored 7 points in a span of barely a minute midway through the third quarter.
New York reached 100 points by the end of the third and coasted to its easiest victory of the season.
“It means a lot when you play against a team that plays your game and is at the top of the list, because they have the best record,’’ Gallinari said. “So it’s great for us.’’
Steve Nash had 20 points and eight assists for the Suns (14-4), who came in with the NBA’s best record. They had won four straight by an average of 21.3 points, but this time found themselves on the other side of a blowout.
The Suns didn’t even reach 100 points, the first time this season that has happened.
“Terrible performance,’’ Nash said. “I’m embarrassed. Obviously just a disastrous effort. We just have to wash it away and pick it up tomorrow.’’
It was a sweet victory for D’Antoni, who rode his high-scoring offensive system to an average of 58 wins in his four full seasons in Phoenix before he and the Suns parted ways after a first-round loss to San Antonio in 2008.
He hasn’t been nearly as successful with an inferior roster in New York, where he coached his 100th game last night and recorded just his 36th victory.
He improved to 2-1 against the Suns, though said before the game the emotions weren’t the same as they were last season.
“I’ve got enough problems in New York that I don’t really reflect on what they’re doing,’’ D’Antoni said.
Nuggets 135, Warriors 107 - Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points, Chauncey Billups had 22, and host Denver used its biggest scoring first half of the season to pull away from shorthanded Golden State. It was the 11th win in the Nuggets’ last 12 games at the Pepsi Center against the injury-depleted Warriors, who used only eight players in the game.
Heat 107, Trail Blazers 100 - Michael Beasley scored a season-high 27 points, Dwyane Wade had 18 points and 12 assists, and visiting Miami led from the start as the Heat snapped a two-game losing streak. Greg Oden grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds to lead Portland.
Lakers 110, Hornets 99 - Andrew Bynum scored 21 points, Kobe Bryant added 18 on a light night of work, and host Los Angeles posted its seventh straight victory. The Lakers remained undefeated in six games since the return of Pau Gasol, who had 14 points.
Wizards 106, Raptors 102 - Gilbert Arenas broke out of a scoring slump by dropping his new pass-first approach, scoring 22 points to help visiting Washington to its third victory in four games. Antawn Jamison added 30 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards.
“We’ve got confidence in him,’’ Jamison said of Arenas, who was limited to just 15 games the past two years because of knee problems.
Chris Bosh had 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost four straight and 8 of 10.