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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
W2W4: Knicks at Suns

By Ian Begley

The Knicks will try to stem their first mini-slide of the season on Wednesday against the Phoenix Suns.

They've lost three of five, and will look to avoid losing two straight for just the second time this season.

Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. Here are a few things to keep an eye on:

FEAST ON PHOENIX? The Suns are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA.

They rank 26th in defensive efficiency, a measure of points allowed per 100 possessions. They are 29th in opponent field goal percentage (47.3) and have one of the more porous perimeter defenses in the league (more on that below).

So the Knicks' offense -- one of the best across the board in the NBA -- should be able to overpower Phoenix. Carmelo Anthony, who's scoring 31.8 points and pulling down five rebounds in his last five games, has career averages of 24 points on 47 percent shooting in 28 games against the Suns.

WHAT'S UP WITH RAY? Point guard Raymond Felton's shooting struggles continued on Christmas Day.

Felton went 5-for-19 and finished with just 10 points against Los Angeles. He was outplayed by Steve Nash (16 points, 11 assists) and sprained his right pinkie in the third quarter.

Felton is playing with bone bruises in his left and right hands, and you have to wonder how badly his shot has been affected by the injuries. He is shooting just 36 percent in his last five games and has missed his last 15 3-point attempts.

STRUGGLING FROM THREE: The Knicks have missed at least 17 3-pointers in each of their last six games.

Does it feel like they're starting to shoot too many? On Tuesday, they hit nine of 26 attempts (34.6 percent) in a loss to the Lakers. They'd made just 32 percent of their 3-point attempts in the five games prior to that.

In the previously mentioned six-game span, the Knicks have gone 2-4.

Based on the numbers, though, New York might be able to turn it around against the Suns. Phoenix has allowed opponents to shoot a league-high 40 percent from beyond the arc.

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