Tyson Chandler grabbed 14 rebounds to become the 40th player in league history to top 10,000 for his career.
Devin Booker, playing more these days at point guard, had nine assists but nine of his team's 19 turnovers.
The Cardinals gained 64 yards in a scoreless first half and 197 in the second.
Mike James scored 25 points, one shy of his career high, but missed a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds to play.
Larry Fitzgerald needs 26 yards receiving to pass Randy Moss into third on the NFL career list.
Blaine Gabbert was 22 of 38 for 241 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
The Knights' first two goals came just 31 seconds apart.
Devin Booker made just 4 of 13 shots for Phoenix, missed all five of his 3-point tries, and scored 13.
In a back-and-forth second half, Phoenix took control with a late 14-0 burst.
Chris Bowling led Northern Arizona with 11 points.
Cardinals will have same starters for 4th straight game when they host Seahawks on Thursday
Phoenix was up by as many as 17 in the first half and 18 in the second.
Phoenix is 0-3 and two of the losses were especially ugly.
Eric Bledsoe scored 29 points, 17 in the fourth quarter. Devin Booker also flirted with his first career triple-double.
Phoenix had the league's second-worst record last season at 24-58 and looked at least that bad throughout the opener.
D-backs jump out to big early lead, hold off Rockies with triples from Bradley, Pollock
Zack Greinke gets the start against Rockies ace Jon Gray
Cardinals on guard against looking past winless 49ers
DT Robert Nkemdiche will miss Sunday's game with calf injury
Alan Williams underwent surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus and will miss half the season or more.
Cardinals look to build upon momentum from come-from-behind win at Indianapolis