Larry Nance scored 21 points and Dennis Johnson added 20 last night in New York, helping the Phoenix Suns defeat the Knicks, 97-85.

Maurice Lucas and Alvan Adams scored 16 points each for the Suns. Bernard King topped New York with 28 points and Louis Orr added 15.

The Knicks trailed, 74-62, entering the final period, but Phoenix outscored New York, 10-4, to open an 84-66 lead with eight minutes remaining. Nance had five points in the period to help the Suns to their eighth victory in their last 10 games.

Having fallen behind, 44-25, midway through the second quarter, the Knicks pressed full court to cut the deficit to 52-43 by halftime. King scored nine of New York's last 14 points and teamed with ex-Sun Truck Robinson to bring the Knicks back.

Lucas, traded for Robinson in the offseason, helped Phoenix open a big early lead, scoring 14 first-half points. Lucas had 10 in the first period as the Suns, who shot 60 percent in the first half, took a 32-20 lead after one quarter. Johnson scored eight points in a cold-shooting third quarter for both teams while King had nine in the period for New York.