Coming into New York with a 4-9 record, the Suns (also losers of 5 straight), appeared like a team still searching for answers, vulnerable to a Knicks explosion of offensive prowess.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, the Suns had other plans. Steve Nash carried his team, pouring in 26 points and threading the needle on his way to 11 assists as he helped the Suns hold on for a 91-88 victory.
Since the day Coach Mike D'Antoni arrived in New York, fans have been salivating over a potential reunion of Coach and Nash, and last night, the point guard aging like fine wine showed them exactly why.
Nash represents the key piece the Knicks are missing on offense. The two-time MVP is a true point guard, as authentic and fluent as they come. The Knicks' offensive woes, clearly affecting the entire roster from A to Z, stems from the lack of a floor general, leaving the offense entirely stagnant.
Instead of drooling over Nash's abilities and dreaming of the day he may don orange and blue, however, the Knicks and their fans simply need to recognize a need, and a disgraceful weakness when they see it and hope for the best.
The injured Baron Davis certainly can fill this most glaring void for New York, when and if he eventually steps on the court. That said, when the Knicks got into bed with Davis, everyone knew what they were getting: an injured point guard. Until then, the lack of a point guard who can effectively make his teammates better will seemingly continue to haunt the Knicks, who are currently riding a four-game losing streak.
Without that much needed point guard to create better opportunities for them, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire continued to struggle, shooting a combined 12 of 44 from the field. STAT did in fact lead the Knicks with 23 points, but clearly was not able to do it in impressive fashion, also committing six turnovers. Anthony added 12 points in the loss.
There were bright spots (if very, very few) for the Knicks in the loss. Rookie Iman Shumpert poured in 20 points, and Landry Fields also broke out for 17 points. The starting backcourt duo also combined for six steals on the night. Both successful outings seemed to be as a result of both guards aggressively attacking the basket, efficiently and often. This seemed to benefit them immensely, rather than tentatively moving aside for isolation plays in favor of the Knicks' stars.
Things do not appear to be getting easier for the Knicks anytime soon. After leaving the locker room last night without speaking to reporters, Carmelo Anthony was excused from practice today due to a "family issue," and his status for Friday's matchup against the Bucks is at this point unknown.