Knicks 90, Suns 85
PHOENIX (AP) _ The New York Knicks have made winning ugly an art form. This time, they even managed to make Jason Kidd look bad.
Kidd accomplished a rare feat _ a quadruple double _ with an NBA record-tying 14 turnovers to go with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists as the Knicks beat Phoenix 90-85 Friday night to snap the Suns’ seven-game winning streak.
Afterward, the normally uncontroversial Kidd lashed out at the officiating crew of Joe DeRosa, David Jones and Michael Smith, lacing his criticism with profanity.
``They were terrible. I hope I do get fined,″ Kidd said. ``The reputation of the Phoenix Suns in the past has been soft. We’re not a soft team. We deserve the same calls that the New York Knicks get and the Miami Heat and all the teams that have this mystique of playing hard.
``I know I’m tired of that. I don’t care about the fine, but those three referees were terrible.″
Kidd’s 14 turnovers tied the NBA record set by John Drew of Atlanta on March 1, 1978.
``I didn’t take care of the ball the way I should have,″ Kidd said. ``Between the turnovers and the eight players they had out on the court, it’s hard to beat anybody.″
Chris Childs guarded Kidd much of the night.
``I just wanted to make him think a little bit out there,″ Childs said. ``The refs let me play him a little bit. My problem was when I was on offense I got some offensive calls. They let us play and get after each other a little bit. That was good for me.″
Latrell Sprewell snapped out of his early-season shooting funk by scoring nine of his 19 in the fourth quarter, including three quick baskets early in the period.
``I’ve just got to play good for us to be successful,″ Sprewell said. ``Some nights I’m not going to shoot the ball well, but at least rebound or get assists or get stops. Whatever it may be. But offensively I’ve got to play better than I have up to this point.″
The Knicks never trailed as they ended the Suns’ string of 17 consecutive homecourt victories against Eastern Conference teams.
Allan Houston scored 21, including 13 in the first half when New York led by as many as 18. Houston put the game away with four consecutive free throws in the last 30 seconds. Larry Johnson and Charlie Ward scored 12 apiece.
Marcus Camby had eight points and 14 rebounds before leaving with a twisted left ankle with 6:48 to play and the Knicks leading 72-59.
Shawn Marion had 22 points and 15 rebounds for Phoenix, including four 3-pointers in the final 13 minutes. Cliff Robinson scored 22, 11 in the fourth quarter. Rodney Rogers added 14 points.
The Suns couldn’t recover from a miserable first half in which they tied a franchise record for fewest points with 27.
``Defensively, in the first half, that’s what set the tone,″ Sprewell said. ``That pretty much won the game for us, the way we came out and played.″
Phoenix committed 29 turnovers resulting in 35 points for New York.
``I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team value the ball less than we did tonight,″ Suns coach Scott Skiles said. ``Since I’ve been in Phoenix, that’s been the biggest problem. Nobody values the basketball. We just throw it all over the gym.″
The Suns went on a 13-4 run after that to cut the lead to 76-72 on Marion’s final 3-pointer with 3:37 to play.
Phoenix was down 80-76 when Robinson scored with a minute to play, but Sprewell sank two free throws with 45.9 seconds to go, Kidd committed another turnover, and the Suns were finished.
``They kept coming at us but our guys did a good job down the stretch,″ New York coach Jeff Van Gundy said. ``It’s very hard to overcome our shooting and our rebounding right now, but if you can defend and force some turnovers, you’ve got a chance.″
Kidd was livid about a call against Robinson for kicking the ball in a scramble on the Suns’ end of the court with Phoenix down by four.
``The invisible kicked ball was the turning point,″ Kidd said.
Skiles and Robinson both drew technicals in the game, and Kidd went nose-to-nose with DeRosa, shoving the ref’s arm away at one point.
Notes: The Suns activated Tom Gugliotta exactly eight months after he underwent major reconstructive knee surgery. He didn’t score and had a rebound in three minutes. ... The Knicks were the last Eastern Conference team to win in Phoenix _ on March 26, 1999. ... Corie Blount started at center for Phoenix in place of Chris Dudley, who went on the injured list with a sprained left ankle. Blount was scoreless with three rebounds.