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