115 - 104 Final
  for this game

Hill uses big fourth to lift Suns over Knicks

Dec 3, 2007 - 3:43 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- It was another solid game for Grant Hill, and that turned into the desired start to Phoenix Suns' longest road trip of the season.

Hill scored a season-best 28 points as the Suns opened a five-game road trip with a dominating fourth quarter in a 115-104 victory over the New York Knicks Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

Amare Stoudemire added 28 points and 12 rebounds, Shawn Marion chipped in 15 points and Steve Nash shot just 3-of-10 but made up for it by handing out 15 assists, giving him at least 13 for the sixth time in nine games, for Phoenix.

Hill had 17 points in the first half but only two in the third as the Suns trailed by one point three times. He returned to being a scorer by netting Phoenix's first nine points of the fourth.

"Whenever a teammate of mine has a great game, it's always fun to see," Stoudemire said. "It's always fun to be a part of - so just another day at the office."

Hill's three-point play, a 19-footer from the left wing, a 17-footer from the right wing and 14-foot fadeaway, turned a 85-84 lead into a 94-84 edge less than 90 seconds into the quarter.

"It was good," Hill said. "It felt good tonight. We got a lot of weapons on this team. Anytime a two-time MVP doesn't get double figures and you still win, I think it shows you the depth that we have."

Phoenix scored the first 11 points of the period before New York finally got on the board with Fred Jones' free throw at the 8:37 mark. That was after Hill fed reserve Leandro Barbosa for a short jumper.

"Grant made a couple of shots," Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. "He got it going pretty good. Teams such as this, you almost have to play perfect basketball because they capitalize (on) every mistake with a basket."

Not only did Hill's surge give the Suns the win, it came with Nash getting a rest.

"It was great," Nash said. "It was a lot of fun to watch. He got on a roll and kind of gave us the space we needed to close the game. It was a lot of fun to see him go off there.

"It took a lot of pressure off me. I didn't have my legs tonight. He took over and he did a great job for us."

Hill's strong start to the fourth gave him his highest point total since scoring 28 for the Orlando Magic at Dallas on December 16, 2005. He just missed his first 30-point game since February 27, 2005 against Miami.

It was Hill's third game with at least 20 points this season and it happened after he shot a combined 9-of-23 in his previous two contests.

"I was a little disappointed in my play the last two games from an energy standpoint against Houston, against Orlando," Hill said. "I just came out, had good energy and the shots were going in."

"He is a seven-time All-Star," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Obviously, he had a good game. He has done it his whole career when he is healthy. I don't think it is unusual that he did it."

The 35-year-old Hill finished the game 13-of-17 from the field with eight rebounds and a season-high seven assists.

"It was great, he was shooting the (heck) out of the ball," Marion said.

After missing their first four shots of the fourth, the Knicks finally scored a basket when Stephon Marbury had a layup with 8:07 remaining making it 96-87.

That would be the final time the Knicks would get it under double digits as Quentin Richardson was stripped by Marion, who found Barbosa for a transition layup.

The Suns reached the century mark for the 13th time this season with 6:18 remaining on Stoudemire's three-point play. Shortly thereafter a loud "Fire Isiah" chant began.

Marbury and Eddy Curry scored 21 points apiece for New York, which trailed by as many as 17 during the first quarter and shot 39.5 percent in the second half.

Marbury had just four points in the fourth while Curry had just three as he was guarded by Brian Skinner. Skinner also helped stop Zach Randolph, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds but missed his first three shots of the fourth and was 2-of-10 in the second half.

"They ran off on us," Randolph said. "We know Phoenix is a good team and we hung with them until the fourth quarter. Then we couldn't score. We couldn't get stops."

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