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Battier hits winner, Knicks miss five tie tries

12/20/2001

NEW YORK (AP) -- Marcus Camby's layup hung on the rim and fell
out. He tipped the ball and it missed, and Kurt Thomas did the
same.

The ball bounced out to Mark Jackson for a 5-footer that also
hung on the rim but wouldn't fall. Finally, Camby tipped it toward
the basket one last time. That shot missed, too.

The New York Knicks couldn't convert five chances to tie the
game in the final six seconds, and the Memphis Grizzlies won at
Madison Square Garden for the first time in franchise history,
90-88 Thursday night.

"I was screaming, yelling, 'Tip it out, just tip it out,"'
Memphis coach Sidney Lowe said. "I just think the Lord was on our
side this time. He said 'You guys played too hard, I'm going to
give this one to you.' "

Divine intervention aside, the Grizzlies won this one because
they simply outworked the Knicks for most of the evening.

Shane Battier scored 21 points, including a tiebreaking jumper
with 9.8 seconds left, and the Grizzlies snapped a five-game losing
streak and won on the road for just the second time this season.

"Guys weren't focused team-wide. We weren't ready to play,
weren't playing together," Latrell Sprewell said. "There was a
definite lack of respect for the opponent, and I think that's what
cost us the game."

The loss spoiled a big fourth quarter for Sprewell, who scored
New York's first 14 points of the period, including a personal 9-0
run that tied the game after the Knicks trailed by 13 late in the
third.

Sprewell finished with 27 points, Allan Houston had 25, and
Jackson added 14 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Camby
was 0-for-6 from the field and 2-for-5 from the foul line.

"It's obvious we weren't ready to play, and turning it on in
the fourth quarter didn't work out," Camby said.

Stromile Swift scored 15, Pau Gasol had 14, and Jason Williams
added 11 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for Memphis.

Williams hit a 3-pointer with 1:15 left that was answered 17
seconds later by Houston to tie the game 88-88. Battier lost his
dribble on Memphis' next possession, but Jackson gave the ball
right back by heaving a pass high over Sprewell's head.

The Grizzlies ran the clock down, and Battier hit a 15-footer
off an inbounds pass with 9.8 seconds left after Sprewell tripped
while fighting through a pick.

"I was shocked how wide open I was. I was expecting Allan or
Latrell to come flying at me, but I had a good look at it,"
Battier said.

Memphis led for most of the first three quarters, but the Knicks
pulled within nine points at the end of the third when Brevin
Knight fouled Jackson as he heaved a desperation shot from beyond
midcourt.

Jackson was awarded three free throws and made them all, cutting
the Grizzlies' lead to 74-65, and Sprewell opened the fourth
quarter with a corner jumper and a 3-pointer in the first 40
seconds.

Sprewell scored New York's next eight points on a pair of free
throws, a jumper and two layups -- the last of which gave New York a
78-76 lead, its first since the fifth minute of the game.

The Knicks led 85-80 before Grant Long -- who spent much of the
game defending Houston -- made a 3-pointer on his first long-range
attempt of the season to cut the deficit to two. Gasol tied it at
85-85 on two foul shots with 2:23 left.

Game notes
Knicks center Travis Knight's playing time continues to
increase under new coach Don Chaney. Knight played 18 minutes and
had six points and three rebounds. ... Long, a 6-foot-8 power
forward, has made 81 3-pointers over his 14 NBA seasons. ... The
Knicks have lost three straight at home.