You can be forgiven if, while watching the SportsCenter scroll last night, you do a spit-take upon seeing the final score from the Garden: Knicks 126, Suns 99. That’s really what happened.
It’s as unlikely a result as one could imagine: The Suns came into the game with the NBA’s best record, 14–3, and the Knicks came in 3–14. The whole contest seemed designed to remind coach Mike D’Antoni what he was missing while mired in Wait for 2010 hell: his old team running wild on his new one.
That’s totally the opposite of what happened. The Suns never looked all that interested — they have a game in Cleveland tonight that clearly occupied more of their attention — and the Knicks just blitzed them from the get-go. By the fourth quarter, down by 23, the Suns were resting their starters.
What’s the secret? It’s rather fundamental: When the Knicks hit their shots, which is easier when you’re playing a team disinterested in defense, they can score extremely quickly. The star last night was Danilo Gallinari, who scored 27 points and grabbed ten rebounds. He even dunked, which is always funny.
Come May, when the Suns are in the Western Conference semifinals (at least), and the idle Knicks are stationing team employees outside LeBron James’s hotel at all hours, hot towels at the ready, you can remember last night’s anomaly and smile. Buy the game on DVD and anytime you need to imagine an alternate universe in which the Knicks are an offensive juggernaut that can play with the NBA’s best teams, just pop it in, instead of watching the real thing.