Dragic's 32 leads Suns to 112-88 rout of Knicks
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By BOB BAUM
PHOENIX (AP) After a laugher over the New York Knicks, the Phoenix Suns are on their longest winning streak in four years.
Goran Dragic scored 32 points in 32 minutes and the Suns routed the Knicks 112-88 on Friday night for their season-high sixth victory in a row.
Eric Bledsoe added 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Markieff Morris scored 16 and Miles Plumlee had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who led by 22 at halftime and 32 in the third quarter.
Carmelo Anthony scored 21, seven below his season average, and Amare Stoudemire 19 for the Knicks, blown out for the second time in three games on their five-game western trip.
"They didn't play good defense," Dragic said of the Knicks, "so tonight we could get everything that we want. We swing the ball two and three times, I'm sure we get an open guy."
With Memphis' loss at Golden State, Phoenix pulled a half-game ahead of the Grizzlies for the No. 7 playoff spot in the West. The Suns are a game ahead of Dallas. The Knicks fell two games behind Atlanta for the eighth spot in the East.
After winning eight of nine, Phoenix is just 1 1/2 games behind No. 6 Golden State and 2 1/2 behind No. 5 Portland.
"In the West, it's so crazy," Dragic said. "The first nine teams, they all deserve to be in the playoffs. But it's only eight teams that can get in. We just have to take care of our business. I think if we play like tonight, we're going to be in good shape."
Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said that unless his team finishes 7-2 "or something like that," it's unlikely Phoenix can catch the Warriors or Trail Blazers.
"But they (the players) do look at the standings," Hornacek said. "They see that it's bunched up there and let's see what we can do."
Dragic, who scored 18 in the first quarter, returned to start the second half after getting five stitches to repair a cut just above the left eye, the result of a second-quarter collision with Tyson Chandler's massive arm.
"I tried to poke the ball from him and he turned and hit me with his elbow right in the eye," Dragic said. "I don't know what it is. It's always the left eye."
He said he's had stitches above the eye five times in his career, twice this season, and always on the left side.
Phoenix's streak is its longest since the Suns won 10 straight four years ago.
The smaller Suns dominated the boards 56-37 and had a 46-24 advantage in points in the paint.
"We just weren't ready for them," Anthony said. "We weren't prepared for them, and they ran us out of the gym."
It wasn't quite as bad for the Knicks as their 127-96 embarrassment against the Lakers in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, but it wasn't close after the first 1 1/2 quarters.
The Suns, a season-high 15 games above .500, outscored the Knicks 24-6 over the final 8:49 of the half to lead 62-40 at the break.
"We are playing for something and it is disappointing because we just can't afford to give games away," New York coach Mike Woodson said.
Dragic had 20 at the half on 8-for-10 shooting, including 3-of-4 on 3s.
Phoenix shot 52 percent in the first half to New York's 39 percent. The Suns were 8-of-20 on first-half 3s, the Knicks 4-of-13. The smaller Suns even outrebounded New York in the first two quarters 26-17.
Anthony, the No. 2 scorer in the NBA at 28.2 points per game, had 10 in the first half on 4-of-10 shooting.
Things got worse for New York early in the third quarter. Dragic made two 3s and Bledsoe one to put the Suns up 78-47 and Plumlee's reverse jam on an alley-oop pass from Bledsoe made it 82-50 with 6:40 left in the period, Phoenix's biggest lead against anyone this season.
NOTES: Tim Boven, an engineer at Honeywell from suburban Peoria, won $77,777 by sinking a shot from halfcourt during a second-quarter timeout. ... Stoudemire played in Phoenix for only the second time since leaving the Suns following the 2010 season. ... Phoenix is 20-10 against Eastern Conference foes.
Updated March 29, 2014