Rapid Reaction: Knicks 110, Grizzlies 108
March, 9, 2011
By Chris Sheridan | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
WHAT IT MEANS: Carmelo Anthony came through at the end -- big time. The 20-game stretch to close the regular season began with the Knicks playing with swagger and confidence for three quarters, then hanging on for dear life at the end as they went 3:36 without a point until Anthony (31 points) sank the game-winning shot from 16 feet over defender Tony Allen with a half-second left on the clock after Memphis had tied the game with a 10-0 run. Normally, a win over the Grizzlies would be not much of a big deal. But this was one of the hottest teams in the NBA, having won 17 of their last 23 including their last two over Oklahoma City and Dallas, and the victory allowed the Knicks to open some space between themselves and the Philadelphia 76ers, who lost to the Thunder in overtime.
TURNING POINT: After committing 10 turnovers in the first half that the Grizzlies converted into 20 points, the Knicks had only one (on a 24-second violation) in a third quarter in which they jumped out of the gate fast and forced Memphis coach Lionel Hollins to call two timeouts in the first 3:38. The Knicks had 96 points at the end of the quarter on 60 percent shooting and led by 14 despite going to the foul line only two times to Memphis' 25. That helped them withstand an 8-0 run by Memphis to start the fourth as the Knicks missed their first seven shots before Shawne Williams broke the drought on a 3-pointer with 7:25 left, and then the 10-0 run at the end.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Toney Douglas had another solid game (for the first three quarters) filling in for Chauncey Billups, who missed his fifth consecutive game with a deep thigh bruise. D'Antoni expects Billups to play Sunday against Indiana, though Billups is not so sure. Douglas was 7-for-10 through the first three quarters and finished with 18 points and a career-high 10 assists. His final assist came with 5:08 left on a bucket by Amar'e Stoudemire (26 points) that put the Knicks ahead by 12. Also, Landry Fields had his best game since the Anthony trade, shooting 7-for-8 and scoring 16 points with 6 assists and 6 rebounds.
THE ROTATION: Bill Walker was available after missing two games with knee plain, but Roger Mason was the first guard off the bench. D'Antoni did not say if the move was permanent, but said he wanted Walker to have at least one practice before leaning on him too much. Mason missed his first two shots but finished 4-for-7 for 10 points. He had made only eight buckets in the first 62 games of the season.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: The Grizzlies were 33-from-35 from the foul line. The Knicks were 4-for-4.
GASOL ON NEW YORK: Grizzlies center Marc Gasol will be a restricted free agent this summer, and there has been speculation that the Knicks will make a run at him. "Its a great city, a beautiful city. Very similar to Barcelona where I'm from, near the water and everything, and very cosmopolitan and easygoing." But when pressed on his future, Gasol was non-committal. "My only future is the game tonight and the game Saturday in Miami, and that's the only thing I really care about -- making those playoffs. You never know what can happen, especially with a work stoppage coming. I'll worry when it comes. There's nothing I can do about it. When the time comes, we'll see what happens."
WHAT'S NEXT: An appearance on national television Thursday night (9:30 p.m. EST) on TNT against the Dallas Mavericks, winners of 19 of their past 21 games entering their road game Wednesday night against New Orleans.