NBA Game Summary - New York at Phoenix
(Monday, December 15th)
Final Score: Phoenix 111, New York 103
Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - Mike D'Antoni's homecoming ended with a hug but not a victory, as Steve Nash scored 21 points and hit a clutch three-pointer with 28.2 ticks remaining, lifting Phoenix over the head coach's new team, the New York Knicks, 111-103.
Before the game, D'Antoni received a standing ovation from the Phoenix crowd in appreciation for guiding the Suns to a 58-win average over his last four seasons. Once the final horn sounded, D'Antoni hugged Nash and embraced Amare Stoudemire then headed for the visitor's locker room -- a loser.
"These guys, you guys are great," D'Antoni said of the Phoenix fans. "I'll definitely be back every time. It was really nice. Just seeing the players again, it was good."
Stoudemire notched a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Shaquille O'Neal had one of his best games this season with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Jason Richardson donated 16 points and Matt Barnes netted nine points with six rebounds for Phoenix, which won for the fourth time in five games.
Nate Robinson filled the stat sheet with 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Al Harrington collected 24 points and seven rebounds for New York, which dropped to 2-2 on its five-game road trip. New York was an abysmal 5-of-37 from beyond the arc, including a 1-of-10 effort from Robinson.
Wilson Chandler and David Lee scored 15 points apiece with Lee also grabbing 12 rebounds before fouling out.
D'Antoni left the Valley of the Sun after guiding his Suns to the Western Conference playoffs last season, only to see them bail out to San Antonio in the first round.
He was given permission to pursue other coaching opportunities, and the allure of the Big Apple coupled with a substantial financial reward coaxed the architect of the "seven-seconds-or-less" run-and-gun offense to the Knicks.
D'Antoni saw a familiar sight on Monday with Nash and Stoudemire leading the way. Yet, he also saw the resurrection of O'Neal, who had missed the previous two games while tending to the death of his great-grandmother and had fresh legs in logging nearly 35 minutes of action.
Stoudemire's slam capped a 10-0 stretch in the first quarter to hand the home team a 24-13 edge. Phoenix led after the first quarter, 32-21, and maintained its 11-point edge, 62-51, after 24 minutes.
Richardson's trey just before the third quarter ended pushed Phoenix's lead back to double digits at 91-81. A quick 7-1 stretch from the Knicks cut the deficit to 96-90 on Lee's mid-range jumper.
Robinson's only three of the game drew the Knicks within 98-93 with just under seven minutes to go.
Robinson then drained a jumper and Harrington again made it a three-point contest, 100-97, with a layup. The lead stayed in that vicinity with Robinson's lay-in making the score 108-103 with 48 ticks left.
The Knicks chose not to foul and Nash stepped back and connected from long distance right in front of D'Antoni with 28.2 seconds left.
"I was proud to be a Suns player and a Phoenician, to hear the response Mike got," said Nash. "I thought it was a classy response after a little bit of controversy in his exit. People really needed to brush that aside and really look at what he contributed to this city and franchise and how much fun we've had over the last four years."
New York, like it did all game, misfired from three-point range on its next possession, and Phoenix held on for the victory.
Phoenix shot 44.8 percent from the floor, while the Knicks made 41.2 percent of their shots...The Suns have won five straight overall in the series between these two teams and nine of the past 10...Grant Hill scored 11 points for the Suns...The Suns are 6-2 this season when O'Neal plays after at least two nights off.
12/16 01:14:07 ET