Williams scored 15 points and hit the game-winning shot with 1.4 seconds left to lift the Memphis Grizzlies past the New York Knicks 87-85 Tuesday.
"I just told (Jones) I knocked them out like he knocked that boy (John Ruiz) out,'' said Williams, whose flurry of uppercuts came with the newly crowned WBA heavyweight champion sitting in the front row.
With the game tied at 85, Williams missed a jumper with 19.7
seconds left, but got the rebound after Pau Gasol tipped it out.
Williams shook Howard Eisley and hit an off-balance jumper to win
"Jason's a prime-time player,'' Memphis coach Hubie Brown said.
"We'll ride a game always with him. We'll let him run the clock.
We'll live with his decisions because he gets by everybody.''
Stromile Swift had his fourth double-double in a row with 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Gasol added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have won four in a row.
Othella Harrington had 14 of his 18 points and seven of his 14 rebounds in the first half, but the Knicks scrapped their inside game to counter the Grizzlies' zone and missed seven 3-pointers down the stretch.
"Harrington had a big first quarter, and we just didn't have answers,'' said Shane Battier, who banked in a 3-pointer to put Memphis ahead at halftime. "It took us a little while to get cooking there.''
Sprewell hit a pair of 3-pointers to put New York up 72-65, but Brevin Knight hit a layup and then fed Swift, who had three highlight-reel dunks, to put Memphis up 73-72.
The Knicks stuck with the 3 and missed three of them before
Sprewell hit one to pull them to 78-75 with 5:32 left. Houston hit
a 3-pointer to tie the game at 80, but the Knicks missed two more
3s down the stretch and had their four-game home winning streak
"If a team is going to play zone, we have enough good shooters to make them pay,'' Sprewell said. "They were kind of going zone then matching up in a man, so they were throwing us off a little bit.
"We probably didn't give them the respect that they deserve. They're playing free and easy and it showed.''
The Grizzlies weren't sharp early. Memphis missed nine of its first 12 shots in the second quarter and gave the Knicks open looks the entire first half, prompting Brown to use timeouts not for diagramming plays but pleading with his players.
"They have no history,'' Brown said of his young team. "Plus when you're young you don't understand pressure -- you've never been in the playoffs, they have no idea about the hard work, the defense, execution down the stretch, how hard and unselfish ... those are just words. So now, you have to drive them.''
Williams has meshed well with Brown, and helped lead the pleading in the huddle Tuesday.
"I thought we were going to bump heads too, but... I've done
everything he's asked me to do, and he's let me play my game,''
said Williams. "(Brown) made a world of difference, but as a team,
we looked ourselves in the mirror, too, and (asked) what we were
here for and what we were going to do. And we've done what Hubie
has asked us to do.''
The Knicks took only four free throws, making them all. ... Sprewell started despite an upper respiratory problem that caused the forward to miss the team's morning shootaround. ... Knicks backup point guard Charlie Ward was also questionable, but his abdominal strain did not keep him from playing. ... Brown coached the Knicks from 1982 to 1986, but downplayed his coaching return. "We have bigger things to worry about than a building,'' he said. "There are a lot of great moments, and a lot of -- how shall I say -- tough times, too.''