Suns Shine On Knicks

The New York Knicks aren't exactly going into their big game in Oakland on a roll.

Jason Kidd had 16 points and 10 assists as the Phoenix Suns routed New York 96-81 Friday night, handing the Knicks their fifth loss in six games.

The Knicks continue westward for Saturday night's highly anticipated game against the Golden State Warriors. It will be the first time the Knicks Latrell Sprewell will play against the Warriors and their coach P.J. Carlesimo, the man Sprewell choked during practice nearly two years ago.

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  • Sprewell scored 14 points on 3-for-11 shooting for the defending Eastern Conference champions, who are off to a sputtering 5-6 start.

    "The mental part of this game in this league is so much underestimated," said Allan Houston, who scored 17 points but only one in the second half. "I think what hurts us is that we think we're better than we are because we made it to the finals last year."

    Kidd also grabbed seven rebounds for the Suns, who were never threatened in the second half.

    "We just picked up and tried to wear them down," Kidd said. "We tried to make them bring the ball up and make them get out of their offense. We wanted to make them start their offense with 10 seconds. We tried to be the dictators tonight and it kind of worked in our favor."

    Todd Day came off the bench to scored 20 points for the Suns, who are 2-0 after they were openly criticized by team owner Jerry Colangelo, who warned that things had better get better in a hurry.

    Day hasn't played much this season, but coach Danny Ainge went to him when Penny Hardaway got into foul trouble. He wound up with four 3-pointers, two during an 18-2 run that broke open a 30-30 game.

    "I got into as groove tonight," Day said. "I've been shooting the ball particularly well the last few days in practice. I just tried to take my time and make sure I did the right tings on my shot and not force it. The basket looked so big for me tonight. I just tried to stick it in there."

    The Suns led 55-40 at halftime and 75-58 after three quarters, never letting the Knicks closer than 10 points in the second half.

    Shooting was the big problem for the Knicks, who are 1-2 on their five-game road trip. They made just 40 percent of their shots from the field. They also missed 10 free throws.

    Phoenix had been struggling with bench production. But the bench, led by Day, chipped in with 43 points.


  • Knicks forward Larry Johnson missed the game because of a sore back, and the Suns' Cliff Robinson missed his second straight game with a jammed wrist.
  • The Knicks had a four-game winning streak against the Suns, who improved to 4-1 at home.

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