Grizzlies 119, Knicks 112
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)
A 29-point lead was just enough for the Memphis Grizzlies to claim their third straight victory.
But the New York Knicks sure made it interesting down the stretch, cutting the advantage to five in the final minute before falling 119-112 on Friday night.
Memphis held its 29-point lead with 3:19 left in the third quarter. The Knicks pulled within 115-110 in the final minute before losing for fourth time in five games.
``It was ugly,'' said Memphis guard O.J. Mayo, who scored 22 points. ``You're up 30, and you look up and it's a five-point ballgame.''
Zach Randolph led Memphis with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Rudy Gay added 20 points. Mike Conley had 18 points, Sam Young finished with 13, and Marc Gasol added 12 points and nine rebounds.
``Toney Douglas came out and did a great job. So did Bill Walker,'' Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. ``You can't play the game without much energy and hustle. You just can't do it. (Walker and Toney) came in and gave us a little bit and they fought. After we were down so much, it was hard to make it up.''
Memphis built its lead behind defense that led to easy baskets. The Grizzlies held the Knicks to 36 percent shooting before the break while building a 63-42 lead at halftime. Memphis coach Lionel Hollins noted a huge difference defensively.
``Unbelievable defense in the first half; unbelievable defense in the second half,'' Hollins said. ``One was positive. One was negative. I told the guys before the game defense was going to be the focus. If we defended them and rebounded, we could get what we wanted offensively, and that was true.
``The minute we let our guard down, and quit playing the game became a close game.''
Memphis shot 55 percent in the first half, building an early double-digit margin. Young provided a spark off the bench with his 13 points as the reserves maintained the early advantage.
``There's no excuse for our lack of energy in the first half,'' Lee said.
Added D'Antoni: ``Nobody was hustling around the ball or playing good defense. It was malaise. We went through the motions.''
Things didn't improve for New York after halftime, as the Memphis lead reached 29. The Knicks seemed to be shooting at will but unsuccessfully. At the end of the third, New York was barely over 41 percent as Memphis held a 94-73 lead.
Memphis had six players in double figures at that point. Walker and Douglas made things interesting down the stretch.
``The game was getting out of hand. We tried to make any type of push we could, and play hard to try and cut it in half,'' Walker said. ``We ended up making it a game.''
But the Memphis advantage was too much, even when the Knicks outscored the Grizzlies 39-25 in the fourth.
``Late in the third, we got a little relaxed,'' Mayo said. ``When you do that, they are New York, running and gunning. They cut it to 20 then from 20 to 12, 12 to seven, then seven to five.
``You're going, 'Come on clock. Get to three zeros.'''
NOTES: The Knicks were playing their second game of a five-game road trip. After opening the tour Wednesday night in San Antonio, New York came to Memphis before returning to Texas for a Saturday game against Dallas. ... Memphis is 10-1 at home against sub-.500 teams. ... Lee has 43 double-doubles. ... Young's 13 points marked the first time the rookie has reached double figures in three straight games. ... New York's 70 points in the second half were the most scored by a Grizzlies opponent in a half this season. The 39-point fourth quarter for New York was also the most productive final period for a Memphis opponent this season. ... Walker's 21 points were one short of his career high set earlier this season against Detroit.