J.R. Smith hit a contested jump shot as the final buzzer sounded to lift the New York Knicks to a 99-97 victory over the Phoenix Suns on a night they were without Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton because of injuries.
Smith made an 18-foot jumper with 10 seconds left to tie last night’s game at US Airways Center in Phoenix. After Jason Kidd forced a turnover for the Knicks, Smith then took an inbounds pass from Kidd with just over one second left and drilled a fall-away 21-footer from the corner over the outstretched hands of Suns guard P.J. Tucker.
“It was designed for me to get to that corner and we ran it to perfection,” Smith, who finished with 27 points, said in a televised interview. “I just wanted to get my shoulders square to the basket and let it fly. I watched so many Michael Jordan tapes, it finally worked for me.”
Kidd added 23 points and eight assists for the Knicks (21-8), while playing 31 minutes at point guard without Felton, who was diagnosed yesterday with a broken right little finger and said he may need surgery. Anthony, the second-leading scorer in the National Basketball Association, sat out last night with a hyper-extended left knee. Both players were hurt in the Knicks’ Christmas Day loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Injuries occur, key guys get banged up here and there, and the other guys have to step up and play,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson told reporters.
Felton said after the game that his injury might keep him out for four-to-six weeks if he needs surgery. He’ll undergo further tests upon returning to New York.
Tyson Chandler and Chris Copeland each scored 14 points for New York, with Chandler adding 12 rebounds.
Jared Dudley had a game-high 36 points for the Suns, who dropped to 11-18 on the season.
The Lakers had a five-game winning streak snapped with a 126-114 loss yesterday to the Denver Nuggets, who got 27 points off the bench from Corey Brewer.
James Harden scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter to lift the Houston Rockets to an 87-84 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, their fifth consecutive victory. The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Brooklyn Nets for the 13th time in a row, winning 108-93 behind 25 points from Brandon Jennings.
The New Orleans Hornets halted an 11-game losing skid with a 97-94 win over the Orlando Magic, while the Golden State Warriors topped the Utah Jazz 94-83 for their ninth win in the past 12 games.