Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 1/31

Game 1: Saturday, January 31st
Suns105Final
Knicks110
Game 2: Wednesday, February 25th
Knicks95Final
Suns113

Knicks 95

(26-33, 10-18 away)

Suns 113

(19-40, 13-16 home)

    Coverage: MSG

    7:00 PM ET, February 25, 2004

    US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ

    1 2 3 4 T
    NY 17 21 30 2795
    PHX 31 25 24 33113

    Top Performers

    NY: K. Thomas 25 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    PHX: A. Stoudemire 24 Pts, 14 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    Knicks outrebounded 58-26

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Stephon Marbury got a warm welcome back to Phoenix. His New York Knicks fell flat against the young Suns.

    Phoenix snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 113-95 victory Wednesday night, handing the tired, depleted Knicks their fourth consecutive loss.

    Joe Johnson scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half and Amare Stoudemire had 24 points and 14 rebounds as the Suns dominated the boards 58-26.

    "I would say that mentally we weren't there," Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens said. "We played a tough game (at Sacramento) last night, but we played well. You know, your pride and your focus have got to take over. You can't allow a team to just control the boards like that and run out on you. That was a terrible effort on our part."

    The Suns' Shawn Marion made his first seven shots and was 9-for-12 for 18 points before being sidelined by a sprained left ankle with 6:01 left in the third quarter.

    "It hurts, you know," Marion said. "I sprained the same ankle in the last game and I was out two days. Hopefully I can get some more treatment and rest tomorrow and can go on Friday."

    New York was coming off a 107-99 loss at Sacramento on Tuesday night. Tim Thomas, who scored 33 against the Kings, left three minutes into the game with a hyperextended elbow.

    "That's basically the story around here," Marbury said. "New guys, injuries. It's tough when you don't have your main guns."

    Marbury, cheered loudly when introduced, had 15 points and 13 assists but was just 4-for-12 shooting in the second half in his first game in Phoenix since being traded to the Knicks on Jan. 5.

    "It was great to get the respect that I got from the fans," Marbury said. "Like I said, I love Phoenix. Phoenix has been good for me. I grew here as a person and a basketball player. I have nothing but respect for the fans here."

    Kurt Thomas led the Knicks with 25 points. DerMarr Johnson scored 16 off the bench.

    Penny Hardaway, also part of the trade, scored 10 points but shot just 4-for-13.

    The Knicks, losers of six of their last seven, trailed by 14 after one quarter and as many as 22 in the second. They never cut Phoenix's lead to single digits in the second half.

    "We caught them on a back-to-back. I'm sure they were a little tired," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "But we finally played close to 48 minutes of pretty good basketball."

    New York got within 11 several times, the last when DerMarr Johnson made two free throws with 3:10 remaining. Jake Voskuhl's three-point play and Howard Eisley's 3-pointer with 2:06 to go boosted the lead to 108-91.

    "We needed a win. It didn't matter who it was against," Voskuhl said. "I guess it was kind of icing on the cake getting it against a couple of your old teammates."

    Marion was 7-for-7 and the Suns shot 58 percent in taking a 31-17 lead after one quarter. Phoenix outscored New York 18-4 over the final 5{ minutes.

    The Suns led by 22 twice in the second quarter, the last time at 49-27 on Jahidi White's reverse layup from Eisley with 5:43 to go in the half.

    The Knicks cut it to 53-38, but Zarko Cabarkapa's three-point play on a rebound of a missed Suns' free throw with 2.7 seconds left put the Phoenix up 56-38 at the break.

    The Knicks outscored Phoenix 11-4 to start the third quarter to make it 60-49 with 8:06 to play, and it was 73-62 after Marbury's three-point play with 3:17 left in the third. Phoenix led 80-68 entering the fourth.< ^Notes@: The Knicks had beaten the Suns four times in a row. ... Phoenix, one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, had a 33-16 advantage on the boards and outscored the Knicks in the paint 40-16 in the first half. ... Stoudemire has a personal-best seven consecutive games with at least 20 points. Only Tim Duncan has a longer streak -- 12. ... The Suns have made six trades involving 20 players and seven draft picks since Sept. 30. The Knicks have made four trades since Isiah Thomas became president of basketball operations on Dec. 22.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    NY
    PHX
    Points 95 113
    FGM-FGA 38-84 (.452) 47-94 (.500)
    3PM-3PA 4-13 (.308) 4-16 (.250)
    FTM-FTA 15-17 (.882) 15-23 (.652)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 4-26 19-58
    Assists 21 19
    Turnovers 8 14
    Steals 6 4
    Blocks 3 4
    Fast Break Points 6 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (3/0) 17 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    New York
    Phoenix
    Kurt Thomas Thomas
    Points: 25
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Amar'e Stoudemire Stoudemire
    Points: 24
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2