Monday, January 13, 2014
W2W4: Knicks vs. Suns
By Ian Begley
Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight's Knicks-Suns game at Madison Square Garden:
Can J.R. keep it up?J.R. Smith made a triumphant return to the Knicks' lineup on Saturday. He had 11 points and four assists in the second quarter to help New York turn things around. He finished with 14 points and six assists in a win over Philadelphia.
Smith was benched in the Knicks' previous game -- a win over Miami -- for several incidents that angered the team, the last of which was a $50,000 fine for attempting to untie his opponents' shoelaces. The shooting guard said after the game that he'd learned his lesson and would approach things in a more professional manner from here on out. That's something to keep an eye on from this point forward.
Carmelo playing at a high level: Carmelo Anthony's fingerprints are all over the Knicks' four game winning streak. Anthony was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday after a three-game stretch that included 27 points per game and 2.3 steals per game.
Anthony's also been sharing the ball well of late. He has at least five assists in three of his last four games. For perspective on that, Anthony had just three such games in his first 29. That's an indication of Anthony's passing and also a sign that his teammates have been knocking down shots.
Suns falling: Mike Woodson's club gets Phoenix at a good time. The Suns will be playing the fifth game of a five-game road trip tonight.
The Suns, minus Eric Bledsoe (knee), have lost three of four on the trip. They've hit just 40 percent of their field goals in that span and will run into a Knicks defense tonight that's playing pretty well.
New York has limited opponents to 87 points per game during its four-game winning streak, according to STATS, LLC.