Phoenix Suns at New York Knicks
- When the Suns beat the Knicks 91-88 at Madison Square Garden last January 18, it snapped New York's streak of nine straight home games versus Phoenix scoring 100 or more points. The teams have actually split those 10 contests.
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- The New York Knicks have lost two of three to the Phoenix Suns since Amare Stoudemire joined the team, but figure to be in good position to win the next matchup even without him.
The Knicks can improve to 7-0 at home Sunday when they try to hand the Suns a third straight loss.
Stoudemire remains out due to his persistent knee problems so he won't be able to help New York (11-4) avoid a third straight loss to Phoenix (7-10).
The Knicks may not need him because they are off to their best start at Madison Square Garden since winning their first nine games there in 1992-93. That team matched a franchise record with 60 victories.
New York improved to 17-1 at home in the regular season under coach Mike Woodson with Friday's 108-87 rout of Washington.
"The Garden is known when it's rocking as one of the toughest places to play so we want to bring that back," said Carmelo Anthony, who had 20 points in a season-low 27 minutes. "For us to just keep that going and protect that home court is big."
The Knicks have won two of three without Jason Kidd, who is expected to miss his fourth straight game Sunday due to lower back spasms.
Kidd's absence hasn't had too big an impact since newcomer Pablo Prigioni has provided quality minutes backing up Raymond Felton. Prigioni has totaled 19 points and 12 assists in consecutive victories.
"For Pablo to step up as he's been doing at that PG position has been spectacular for us," Anthony said.
While Prigioni is enjoying his first NBA season on a winning team, his teammate from Argentina's national squad - Luis Scola - can't say the same about his first season with the Suns.
Scola struggled to make 4 of 13 shots for eight points in Friday's 101-97 loss to a Toronto team that had lost six straight. The former Houston big man's scoring average of 12.7 is his lowest in four seasons, and he voiced his frustration after playing the Raptors.
"We need to change the dynamic, we need to change our attitude, we need to change our minds," Scola said. "We're in the kind of dynamic where everything goes wrong. We just can't get it going.
"We need to start thinking like a winning team. We need to start believing in ourselves and winning games."
Fellow newcomer Goran Dragic is averaging team highs of 15.6 points and 6.6 assists with big shoes to fill in replacing Steve Nash at point guard. Dragic has totaled 23 points and six assists in two straight losses to the lowly Raptors and Detroit.
The Suns, 2-7 on the road, are allowing a league-worst 102.5 points per game.
Friday's win for the Knicks closed out their strong November. Eight of New York's first 12 games this month are at home.
"That's a big month for us. Coming into the season, my goal and our goal was to at least get 10 wins for this month," Anthony said. "Any time you can get 10 wins in a month, especially the first month, that's always good."
Updated December 2, 2012