Devin Booker’s game winner sinks Knicks, 116-113

Devin Booker’s game winner sinks Knicks, 116-113

The Knicks were on pace to mount their second consecutive comeback victory, this time trailing the Phoenix Suns by 15 after rallying back from down 21 to beat the Miami Heat on Friday.

Jimmy Butler missed the game-winner for the Heat. Devin Booker did not.

With the game on the line and the shot clock turned off, Booker watched the clock count down from 21.9 to 9.9 seconds before taking his first dribble. Immanuel Quickley came with the help and doubled at the top of the key.

But Booker got off the ball, then got it back and got to his sweet spot — the right corner, the same spot Butler missed from two nights earlier.

Booker made a shot over two Knicks defenders to hand New York a 116-113 loss at Madison Square Garden. Jalen Brunson’s buzzer-beating 30-foot heave out of the timeout rimmed out.

The Suns were without Kevin Durant (foot), who was a game-time scratch after an energetic pregame warm-up session. They were also without All-Star guard Bradley Beal, who is out some time with a back injury, and starting wing Grayson Allen, who was out sick.

Yet it was Phoenix who pounced on the Knicks as if the Suns smelled blood on The Garden floor.

Phoenix’s sharpshooter Eric Gordon scored 11 points in the game’s opening 4:15, outscoring the Knicks himself with a barrage of early threes.

Three-point shooting and offensive rebounding created early separation for the Suns, who led by as many as 15 and out-rebounded the Knicks 17-8 in the first quarter and 30-18 by the half.

All the while, Brunson’s work appeared in vain. His 12 first-quarter points and 20 at the half barely made a dent in the margin because Julius Randle only had seven in the first half.

Randle ran off 17 points in the third quarter alone. Quickley came alive for another strong performance off the bench as part of Tom Thibodeau’s closing unit. Donte DiVincenzo hit a pair of timely threes, and Isaiah Hartenstein came up with a critical block on a momentum-swinging transition dunk attempt by Booker.

The Knick came up with a critical stop with under a minute left in regulation, forcing a 24-second violation on the Suns. After a disjointed possession, Brunson got the mismatch on Suns starting center Jusuf Nurkic and nailed a pull-up two to tie the game at 113 with 21.9 seconds left on the game clock.

It was too little, too late.

Booker hit the game-winner and finished with 28 points and 11 assists, and Gordon tallied 25 points on a bevy of treys. The Suns extended their winning streak to seven games — and they did so without three of their five starters.

The Knicks project to face another shorthanded team on Tuesday.

Charlotte Hornets All-Star LaMelo Ball was helped off the court after suffering an ankle injury against the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

The Knicks play the Hornets in their final In-Season Tournament game, and point differential will be critical in determining whether or not they will advance to the knockout rounds in Las Vegas.

The Hornets are nowhere near the caliber of the championship-contending Suns, but the Suns didn’t need to be their full selves to secure a victory at The Garden.

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