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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Halftime report: Knicks 54, Suns 44

By Jared Zwerling

No Carmelo Anthony or Raymond Felton, but the Knicks controlled the first half against the Suns. In the first quarter, they won the rebounding margin and pushed the pace to score in transition (they had 12 fast-break points, compared to the Suns' three). Then in the second period, they got hot from 3-point range (6-for-10).

Here are five other main observations at the half:

1. Where's the D? The Knicks were victimized on cross screens, especially guarding Jared Dudley. Ronnie Brewer and Steve Novak couldn't check the Suns' sharpshooter, who finished with 17 first-half points on only 10 attempts. The Knicks got a little tangled up while switching a lot on pick-and-rolls, and that led to some Suns' uncontested backdoor cuts and easy layups inside.

2. Tyson Chandler scoring with his ... shooting? That's right. In a move that Chandler had never unleashed as a Knick, he started off the game with a turnaround jumper while posting up over Suns center Marcin Gortat. Later in the first quarter, Chandler hit a 15-foot jump shot on the baseline.

Chandler has been saying all season that all he needs his space, and he's going to shoot. Well, he got some open looks in the first half, as well as in the paint off pick-and-rolls, going for eight points and six rebounds overall. He also had a great hustle play on offense: When a Knicks' pass to Chandler was broken up, he went after the loose ball and finished with a layup.

3. Marcus Camby comes through. Speaking of hustle, Camby (two points, six rebounds and one block) made some big plays in the first half. On one possession toward the end of the second quarter, he missed an inside layup and grabbed the offensive rebound, then he got blocked on a second attempt, but followed his own miss again and finally got fouled by Jermaine O'Neal.

4. Knicks' preseason punch delivers. Before the regular season tipped off, two of the brightest spots on the team were backups Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland. They got it done in the second quarter. When the Knicks started the period with Prigioni, J.R. Smith (13 points), Copeland, Novak and Camby on the court, they struggled to produce points. But then Prigioni had a 3-pointer around the midway point. Then, he found Smith and Camby for dunks.

Right after Prigioni got it going, Copeland heated up from the floor. He had 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting (2-for-2 from beyond the arc), helping the Knicks go on a 14-4 run.

5. Felton's X-ray. The Knicks' starting point guard told MSG Network reporter Tina Cervasio that he would be getting an X-ray at halftime to ensure there are no torn ligaments in his sprained right pinkie. Stay tuned for any updates.

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