(Reuters) – J.R. Smith made a twisting, fading, 21-footer as time expired to give the depleted New York Knicks a buzzer-beating 99-97 road victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
With the NBA’s second-leading scorer Carmelo Anthony (knee) and starting point guard Raymond Felton (finger) both sidelined, Smith rescued the Knicks and helped them rebound from their Christmas Day loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The game was tied 97-97 in the final seconds when Smith took an inbounds pass from Jason Kidd, and, without dribbling and while fading to his left, nailed a long jump shot over the hand of an outstretched defender.
“I just tried to get my shoulders square to the basket and let it fly,” Smith told reporters after being swamped by his team mates on Phoenix’s home floor.
“They tried to deny the ball. Fortunately, Kidd made a great bounce pass.”
The buzzer-beater was Smith’s second of the season and helped him finish with 27 points after he had also tied the game at 97-97 with a tough jumper about 10 seconds prior to his winning bucket.
The win improved the resurgent Knicks to 21-8, the second best mark in the Eastern Conference.
Jared Dudley scored a career-high 36 points in the loss for the Suns (11-18).