WHAT IT MEANS: The New York Knicks didn’t solve their defensive issues on Thursday night, but they didn’t have to in a 120-99 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. They set a franchise record with 20 3-pointers and Toney Douglas tied a single-game team record with nine 3-pointers as the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Knicks had lost three straight since Carmelo Anthony hit a buzzer-beater to beat Memphis on March 9. Anthony had 28 on Thursday, finishing 10-of-19 from the field. The Knicks weren’t great defensively, but they snapped their four-game streak of allowing the opponents to shoot over 50 percent, holding Memphis to 46 percent shooting.
TURNING POINT:Chauncey Billups had 12 points in the first 5:43 of the third quarter. His run started with a 3-pointer 11 seconds into the quarter -- his first since he returned from a six-game absence with a left thigh injury. (He’d been 0-11 to that point.) It ended with a free-throw with 6:17 to play. In between, the Knicks’ eight point lead increased to 16.
DIFFERENCE MAKERS: Douglas had 17 points in 17:46 minutes in the first half, including five 3-pointers. He tied John Starks' and Latrell Sprewell's previous single game mark of nine, finishing with 9-of-12 makes behind the arc. Sprewell hit nine on two separate occasions. The Knicks’ 20 3-pointers surpassed their previous mark of 19 set Nov. 12, 2008 against Memphis. Amare Stoudemire had just six points on four shots in the first half but the Knicks made up for it with eight threes in the opening 24 minutes. Stoudemire, who had averaged 29.2 points over his last seven games, finished with 16.
UNLUCKY SEVEN: The Knicks (35-32) remained a half-game ahead of Philadelphia (35-33) fell into seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but Mike D’Antoni said before the game that he didn’t really care whether the Knicks finished in sixth, seventh or eighth in the top-heavy East.
“To be honest, it doesn’t really matter if you finish sixth or seventh or eighth,” the coach said. “You can’t tell me who’s the best (of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference).”
WHAT’S NEXT: The Knicks face a Detroit team on Friday that has won just seven of its last 22. It will be their 17th back-to-back this season. The Knicks are 9-7 in the second game of back-to-backs. New York plays at Milwaukee on Sunday. Their fourth and final four-game-in-five-night stretch in March will conclude Monday against Boston.
Also, one road win against either the Pistons or Bucks will give the Knicks 17 road wins. The last time the Knicks won 17 on the road was 2000-2001, which is also the last year the team won a playoff game.