Smith buzzer-beater lifts Knicks past Suns
PHOENIX — Without Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton, the New York Knicks still had enough to eke out a 99-97 victory in Phoenix, thanks to a pair of very late, very tough jumpers by J.R. Smith.
The first was a 15-foot, fadeaway shot from just inside the key to tie it with 10.6 seconds left, the second a 21-footer from the baseline at the buzzer.
“I don’t know whatever words you want to use but he loves that moment,” Knicks guard Jason Kidd said. “I’m trying to figure out if that last shot was tougher than the one before that he took.”
The game-winner came on an inbound pass from Kidd after the Suns turned it over with a second to play.
“It was premeditated,” Smith said. “I was walking around the court going, ‘You are going to make it, you are going to make it.’ I was trying to get my form ready before I even thought about taking it. I was trying to go through my mechanics in my head, get my shoulders square to the basket and just let it fly.”
Jared Dudley had a career-high 36 for Phoenix, including two free throws that put the Suns ahead 97-95 with 34.5 seconds to go.
New York was without the NBA’s No. 2 scorer in Anthony (hyperextended knee) and Felton (finger), both hurt in the Christmas day loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles.
The Knicks said X-rays on Felton’s right fifth finger revealed a fracture and the next course of action will be determined after his return to New York.
“We just have to go back and assess it and see where we are and go from there, but again, like I said, injuries occur,” New York coach Mike Woodson said. “Key guys get banged up here and there and we have enough guys on our team that guys just got to step up and play until guys get back. That’s how it’s got to be.”
The Suns lost Goran Dragic in the final seconds of the first half when he was undercut by Smith on a layup attempt and fell hard to the floor. Dragic had bruises to his hip, back and wrist. Smith was called for a flagrant foul on the play.
Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry knew there was no intent to injure on Smith’s part.
“J.R., he’s not that kind of player,” Gentry said. “He plays hard and he competes like crazy. It was an accident. It was one of those things that happens.”
Chris Copeland and Tyson Chandler added 14 points apiece for the Knicks.
Dudley, whose previous high was 33, was 11 of 17 shooting, 5 of 8 on 3s, and 9 of 9 at the foul line. Marcin Gortat added 13 points for the Suns, who lost their third in a row.
New York led 54-44 at the half and stretched it to 68-54 when Smith made a fadeaway, falling-down 19-footer with 7:13 left in the third. Dudley responded with a 3-pointer and the Suns were off on a 20-4 outburst.
Another 3 by Dudley tied it at 72 with 2:10 to go, and Shannon Brown, who made just one of his first seven shots, scored on a fast-break layup to put Phoenix ahead 74-72 with 1:23 left in the quarter.
It was knotted at 76 entering the fourth.
Dudley was fouled by Copeland on a 3-point try and made all three free throws to put Phoenix up 90-86 with 5:19 left, but Smith scored the next four, Kidd sank a 3 and Copeland made a 21-footer in a 9-0 spurt that had the Knicks up 95-90 with 3:34 left.
After a scoreless 1:28, Sebastian Telfair made a 3, then Brown sank a 20-footer to tie it at 95 with 1:15 remaining.
Smith missed a jumper from the top of the key 52 seconds from the finish and the Suns got the ball. Dudley was fouled on a drive to the hoop and made both free throws to make it 97-95.
But Smith, with P.J. Tucker all over him, sank a fadeaway from just outside the free throw line to tie.
Gentry called a 20-second timeout but the play broke down and, when Telfair tried to hit Gortat for a back-door layup, the ball was knocked back into the backcourt by Kidd. Telfair chased it down but wound up stepping out of bounds with a second on the clock.
After a timeout, Kidd tossed the pass to Smith, who got the shot off, again over Tucker, from just inside the 3-point line. It went in and he was mobbed by his teammates.
“It happened so fast and obviously you want to keep it for the last shot and live with that,” Dudley said, “but you give them one second and J.R. with the big shot.”
Heat 105, Bobcats 92
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — LeBron James had 27 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, and the Heat handed the Bobcats their 16th straight loss.
Dwyane Wade scored 29 points and had nine rebounds as Miami extended its winning streak to six.
Charlotte cut the Miami lead to 84-82 when Gerald Henderson completed a three-point play with 7:16 left. But James knocked down a 3-pointer, Wade hit a pair of jumpers, and Shane Battier added a 3-pointer from the right corner to complete an 11-3 run that pushed the lead to 10.
Kemba Walker had 27 points, and Ramon Sessions added 19 points for the Bobcats (7-21), who haven’t won since Nov. 24.
Hornets 97, Magic 94
ORLANDO, Fla. — Robin Lopez had a season-high 29 points, and Greivis Vasquez scored a season-best 27 as New Orleans snapped an 11-game losing streak with a victory over Orlando.
Orlando had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but came up empty on a 3-point attempt by Nikola Vucevic.
It was the Hornets’ first win since Dec. 3 and their fourth straight regular-season victory over the Magic.
Jameer Nelson had 28 points and 10 rebounds for Orlando, and Vucevic added 19 points. The Magic dropped their third consecutive game, all since starting forward Glen Davis injured his shoulder.
Cavaliers 87, Wizards 84
WASHINGTON — Tristan Thompson’s three-point play with 24.4 seconds remaining gave Cleveland a victory over Washington and its first two-game winning streak of the season.
Kyrie Irving, who had 26 points to lead Cleveland, made one of two free throws with 9.5 seconds left after Jordan Crawford and Garrett Temple missed jumpers for the Wizards. Crawford made two free throws with 8.5 seconds left to cut the lead to 86-84. Irving hit one of two, and Crawford missed a 3-pointer as time ran out.
Irving had 20 of his 26 points in the first half for the Cavaliers, who improved to 7-23. Two of their wins are against Washington, losers of eight straight.
Thompson had a season-high 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Crawford and Emeka Okafor led the Wizards with 17 points. Nene had 16.
Hawks 126, Pistons 119, 2OT
ATLANTA — Josh Smith scored 31 points, Al Horford added 22, and Atlanta beat Detroit in double overtime.
The Hawks blew a 22-point, fourth-quarter lead as Detroit reserves Will Bynum and Charlie Villanueva scored a combined 26 points in the final period of regulation.
Atlanta has won two straight and eight of 12. Detroit has lost seven of nine.
Bynum finished with 31 points, one less than his career high, and assisted on the last two baskets of regulation, when Andre Drummond’s dunk cut the lead to two and Austin Daye’s 3-pointer gave the Pistons a 101-100 lead with 4 seconds remaining.
Rockets 87, Timberwolves 84
MINNEAPOLIS — James Harden scored 17 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, and Houston rallied to win its fifth straight, topping Minnesota.
Harden’s drive to the basket gave Houston (16-12) an 85-84 lead with 39 seconds left. He drove again to make it a three-point lead with 11.7 seconds to go and scored 15 of the Rockets’ final 17 points.
Omer Asik added nine points and 17 rebounds for the Rockets, who edged the Wolves after beating their previous three opponents by at least 22 points.
J.J. Barea scored 18 for Minnesota (13-13), and Shved added 16. Kevin Love had 12 rebounds, but scored just seven points on 3 of 14 shooting. He missed all seven of his 3-point attempts.
It was Rockets coach Kevin McHale’s first game back in his home state since his 23-year-old daughter, Sasha, died on Nov. 24 of complications from lupus.
76ers 99, Grizzlies 89
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dorell Wright scored 28 points, and Spencer Hawes had 20, season-highs for both, and Philadelphia snapped a six-game road losing streak with a victory over Memphis.
Wright was inserted into the lineup for Jason Richardson, who sat out with a low back strain. Wright was 8 of 11 from the field, part of the Sixers shooting 52 percent, including 9 of 16 outside the arc.
Thaddeus Young and Jrue Holiday had 13 points each for Philadelphia, Holiday adding nine assists. Nick Young finished with 12 points. Hawes had five of Philadelphia’s season-high 12 blocked shots.
Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 23 points and nine rebounds, and Marc Gasol had 18 points and eight rebounds. Memphis, which lost its second straight, played without leading scorer Rudy Gay, who was out because of “personal reasons.”
Bucks 108, Nets 93
MILWAUKEE — Brandon Jennings scored 25 points, Monta Ellis added 20 points and a season-high six steals, and Milwaukee beat short-handed Brooklyn for the 13th straight time.
Brook Lopez had 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Nets missed a chance to get to .500 on the road (6-7) and lost their third straight.
The Nets were without starting guard Deron Williams, who used his wrist to brace himself as he fell to the court Tuesday in a home loss to Boston. C.J. Watson made his first start of the season and 60th of his career.
Trailing 78-67 after three, the Nets made it a close game in the fourth quarter, getting to 84-80, but Milwaukee answered with 3-pointers from Ersan Ilyasova, Ellis, and Mike Dunleavy to push the lead to 11.
The Nets fell to 3-10 in December.
Ellis and Jennings outscored Joe Johnson and Watson 45-21.
Spurs 100, Raptors 80
SAN ANTONIO — Tim Duncan scored 15 points, and San Antonio rolled to a victory over Toronto that snapped the Raptors’ five-game winning streak.
Manu Ginobili added 14 points, Tony Parker 13, and Tiago Splitter and Stephen Jackson each had 10 for San Antonio (22-8), which has won three straight. Kawhi Leonard had nine points and 10 rebounds.
Alan Anderson and Amir Johnson both had 12 points for Toronto (9-20).
Duncan had six rebounds and was 6 for 11 from the field in only 27 minutes as the Spurs’ balanced attack wore down the Raptors. None of Toronto’s starters scored in double figures as San Antonio’s starters outscored its counterparts 54-25.
Warriors 94, Jazz 83
SALT LAKE CITY — Stephen Curry scored 23 points, David Lee added 18, and Golden State beat Utah.
Curry set the tone by scoring the Warriors’ first 11 points. He hit two 3-pointers and made three free throws after being fouled on another shot beyond the arc — all in less than a minute. Curry added eight rebounds, seven assists and a steal.
Jarrett Jack and Klay Thompson had 15 points each for the Warriors, who dominated on the fast break and hit 9 of 18 3-point attempts.
Al Jefferson led Utah with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Paul Millsap added 14 points.
The Warriors led by as many as 15 points in the first half, and took a 75-58 lead into the fourth quarter.
Trail Blazers 109, Kings 91
PORTLAND, Ore. — LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Portland beat Sacramento to avenge a loss on Sunday.
Nicolas Batum scored 18 points and J.J. Hickson added 17 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers, who built a double-digit lead in the second quarter and then ran away from the Kings. Portland led by as many as 26 points. Rookie point guard Damian Lillard had 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
John Salmons led the Kings with 19 points. Reserve Isaiah Thomas had 12 points, and Jason Thompson added 11. The Kings are 1-12 on the road this season — the only win coming Dec. 8 against the Blazers.
Portland, which has won nine of 10 games at home, tied the season series with the Kings after losing to them on Sunday in Sacramento, which snapped the Blazers’ five-game winning streak.
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