PHOENIX – With owner James Dolan on this western ride, the Knicks did not manage to give him a win in the most profitable game on this four-game journey.
The Knicks took the lead at halftime in the Talking Stick Resort Arena by 10 points and were beaten by Devin Bookers 37 points, while their own top option, Julius Randle, fell back to earth after a few weeks of hot hand.
Knicks' defenses could not stop the Suns in the fourth quarter, as Phoenix got a tremendous boost from Kelly Oubre Jr., who had pumped 29 points to 5 out of 7 from the 3-point range to defeat the Knicks in three games to finish 120-112.
The young suns exploded in a 10-0 run to start the second half and the score was 61. From then on it was a rocking game before Phoenix finally left the field in the last few minutes. Dolan sat in the fifth row behind the Knicks Bank with President Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry and saw 26 leadership changes.
Randle lost his mojo when he dropped to 6: 7 under interim coach Mike Miller and shot 5 out of 17: 0 for 6 out of 3. He scored 13 points. Rookie RJ Barrett had a bad shooting game (3 out of 10, including 1 out of 6 out of 3, 10 points).
In contrast, Booker was a whirling dervish, taking 14 out of 27 shots and handing out seven assists.
The trip now heads to Los Angeles, where they'll face the Clippers on Sunday and the Lakers on Tuesday before landing in Utah.
It wasn't enough firepower, though Marcus Morris, a former sun, lit it for 25 points. The Knicks also received a huge lift from the Bobby Portis backup center (20 points).
The kinks fell to 10-25 and they will really need to get more out of their last two lotto games. Barrett only shoots 38 percent, but remains aggressive. Kevin Knox, falling from the bank, faded. He had three points in 12 minutes against the player they had bypassed, Mikal Bridges.
The Knicks led most of the first half with Elfrid Payton, who flew after the birth of his daughter on the day of the game and delivered an early spark to the hole with three fast drives. He ended the race with 15 points, but was frustrated too late and tore Oubre off the track in a fast break in the final seconds.
The Knicks were sharp off the field early on. After Frank Ntilikina hit a runner on the track, the Knicks led 37:29 after a quarter. They shot 60 percent of the square in this quarter, got another boost from the bench and led half with 61-51.
After the Suns made a surge in the second quarter to reduce them to 2, Barrett buried a huge 3 and Randle followed with a 3-point game, scoring an inside goal and pulling the foul. That brought the Knicks back to 51-43 and a Payton putback put the Knicks in the lead with 60-49.
The Knicks controlled half, although Mitchell Robinson made virtually no inputs, who scored two quick fouls within five minutes and played the rest of the half. He completed his alley-oop magic in the second half and scored nine points.
Payton was 4 out of 5 out of the box in half for nine points. He also had four rebounds after missing a shootaround early in the afternoon and boarding an airplane to get to the game on time.