Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 12/26

Game 1: Friday, December 26th
Game 2: Wednesday, March 24th

Grizzlies 111


Knicks 97

(33-39, 20-17 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:30 PM ET, March 24, 2004

    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 31 34 26 20111
    NY 16 29 21 3197

    Top Performers

    Memphis: P. Gasol 23 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    New York: S. Marbury 23 Pts, 2 Reb, 10 Ast, 1 Stl

    Memphis 21-5 since Feb. 1

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Stromile Swift picked off Stephon Marbury's pass, handed the ball to Jason Williams and watched him take off downcourt.

    A no-look bounce pass landed right in the hands of the trailer, Pau Gasol, who dunked the ball forcefully to give the Grizzlies their first double-digit lead.

    That play came late in the first quarter, and Memphis never let up. Demonstrating their league-leading proficiency in forcing turnovers, blocking shots and coming up with steals, the Grizzlies defeated the Knicks 111-97 Wednesday night.

    "That's been our bread and butter all year long," Grizzlies forward Shane Battier said. "We had very good pressure in the first quarter which led to our break, and it was working well for us tonight. It was good for us to start quickly. The last couple games we've started down in the first quarter."

    Memphis scored 27 points off 16 first-half turnovers, taking control early against an injury-ravaged Knicks team that was without Allan Houston (bruised quadriceps) and Tim Thomas (strained groin).

    Gasol scored 23 points, James Posey added 17 and Mike Miller 15 for the Grizzlies, whose 21-5 record since Feb. 1 is the league's best. Hubie Brown improved to 73-72 since taking over as coach early last season.

    "We were like 12-for-13 on the break in the first half, and at the end of the night we were 18-of-20. Now that's a big number," Brown said.

    Stromile Swift blocked four shots and had three steals for the Grizzlies, who bested their league-leading averages in steals (9.64) and turnovers forced (17.2), but didn't surpass their average in blocks (7.27).

    Marbury had 23 points and 10 assists for New York, which remained in seventh place in the East.

    Marbury committed five turnovers, while Shandon Anderson and Penny Hardaway had four apiece.

    "We weren't throwing the ball away intentionally," Marbury said. "When you get a turnover, you're trying to make something happen. Tonight it didn't happen.

    "They play with a lot of intensity, as you could see tonight," Marbury said. "Look, they're not a great defensive team. When we're not scoring the ball and they're scoring the ball it looks like they're playing great defense. We just couldn't make any shots."

    The Knicks could never get going offensively, missing their first five shots.

    Posey hit a 3-pointer off the Knicks' 11th turnover early in the second quarter for a 38-16 lead, and Battier closed the half with a 3-pointer that beat the buzzer for a 65-45 lead.

    New York began the second half with a missed dunk by Nazr Mohammed, a missed layup by Marbury and an offensive foul by Marbury, and Posey and Miller hit back-to-back 3s for a 71-47 lead.

    The only challenge from there for the Grizzlies was staying focused enough to finish off the Knicks, and Brown lit into his team during a timeout midway through the quarter as Memphis began playing sluggishly.

    "Please understand we do not have to let them back into the game," Brown screamed. "They have to work their way back. They're not working."

    Coming out of the timeout, the Grizzlies got a tip-in from Gasol, a jump hook from Swift and a tip-in by Battier for an 86-61 lead.

    Memphis reached 100 points on a layup by Bo Outlaw with 7:07 left in the fourth quarter, and the Knicks were booed off the court as the game ended.

    "You can't take a night off in this league," Knicks forward Kurt Thomas said. "If you sleep on a team, they'll blow you way."<

    ^Notes: The Grizzlies have won three in a row at Madison Square Garden. ... Memphis improved to 21-2 when leading after three quarters. ... The Grizzlies are 19-8 against Eastern Conference teams. ... New York is 7-20 against the West. ... Brown, a notorious long talker, fielded five questions and spent 35 minutes answering them during his pre-game meeting with reporters. ... Brown turned to some hecklers behind the Memphis bench late in the game and told them they should hope to be fortunate enough to have children like Gasol. That ended the heckling.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 111 97
    FGM-FGA 34-84 (.405) 33-76 (.434)
    3PM-3PA 8-18 (.444) 4-14 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 35-40 (.875) 27-32 (.844)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-41 11-42
    Assists 25 15
    Turnovers 11 19
    Steals 10 8
    Blocks 6 5
    Fast Break Points 9 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 28 (0/1)

    Top Performers

    New York
    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 23
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Stephon Marbury Marbury
    Points: 23
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0