NEW YORK -- Nate Robinson got a little too pumped up after teammate David Lee dunked over Amare Stoudemire and drew a foul. Pounding his chest, the New York Knicks guard ventured off the bench and onto the court, so when Stoudemire tripped over Lee's legs, he bumped into Robinson.
That earned Robinson a technical foul and sparked the Phoenix Suns onto a run late in the first half. But Robinson more than made up for it with 20 points in the Knicks' 114-109 win Wednesday.
"I was just excited," Robinson said. "I was just yelling. Just excited -- [it] happens."
The Knicks followed coach Mike D'Antoni's formula to near-perfection to reward him with his first win against his former team.
"I'm human -- it's nice," D'Antoni said. "But it's more satisfying to get a win -- and against a really good team."
The Knicks held Shaquille O'Neal to just one field goal in the second half after he had 18 points in the first. And the smaller players forced to guard him created mismatches of their own on the offensive end.
Lee led the Knicks with 25 points and 16 rebounds. Tim Thomas, saddled by foul trouble the first three quarters, scored all 10 of his points in the first five minutes of the fourth as New York pulled in front for good.
The Suns have lost four of five and still face three more games on their six-game road trip.
"When [O'Neal] was rested more in the first half, there's nothing I can obviously do to keep him from going where he wants to go. ... In the second half, I think he got a little worn down," Lee said. "That's what it's like sometimes on a road trip. I was able to keep running up and down a little bit."
With the score tied 87-87 with less than 10 minutes left, Thomas scored seven points as the Knicks went on a 12-4 run. Robinson's three-point play gave New York a 99-91 lead.
Chris Duhon later hit a big shot for the second straight game, drilling a 3-pointer after the Suns had pulled within four with less than three minutes to go.
Steve Nash had a season-high 19 assists.
"Before this five-game stretch, I was feeling pretty good about our team and I felt like we had turned a corner," Nash said, "and so to take two steps back here lately has been frustrating. I'm not sure I have the answers for it."
The Suns attempted 21 free throws in the first half to the Knicks' eight, but made just 13. O'Neal, who came in shooting 62.8 percent from the line this season, was 4-for-9.
He finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, making 8-of-16 field goals and 5-of-13 free throws.
"Shaq, at this point in his career, he needs to dribble the ball before he makes his move," Harrington said. "That's the biggest thing, we try to swarm around him like bees every time he puts it down and make it tough for him."
Before the game, D'Antoni said facing the Suns wouldn't be as emotional as the first meeting, which the Knicks lost 111-103 on Dec. 15 in Phoenix.
"It's like being jilted by a lover," he said. "Days go by, and you get over it."
Robinson's points were the most he's scored since getting 20 on Dec. 28. ... The Knicks snapped a five-game losing streak to the Suns, beating them for the first time since Jan. 2, 2006. ... Lee had his fifth straight double-double and set a career high with his 30th of the season. ... The Knicks are 17-24 at the season's halfway point, four games ahead of last year. ... Knicks rookie Danilo Gallinari had a career-high 10 points. ... Knicks C Jerome James is scheduled to have surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles' tendon Thursday. The injury occurred during practice Sunday.
- Dick Bavetta
- Mark Lindsay
- Rodney Mott