After an All-Star break which saw Tim Hardaway Jr. drop a game-high 36 points in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge and Carmelo Anthony score 30 points in the All-Star game, the New York Knicks (20-33) got their second half of the season underway, Tuesday Night, in Memphis. The Knicks felt refreshed and looked forward to putting a disappointing first half of the season behind them.
New York found themselves down by 18 in the 2nd, but fought back to regain the lead in the 4th. Unfortunately, New York couldn’t hold on and the Memphis Grizzlies (30-23) escaped with a 98-93 victory. New York had many opportunities to retake the lead or tie the game, but they couldn’t convert on any of them. Late game situations have killed New York all season, and this game was no different.
With 21.4 seconds to go in the 4th, the Knicks were down by three. Instead of driving to the hoop to score a quick two and play the fouling game; the Knicks stayed on the perimeter which led to Hardaway Jr. hoisting a contested three. Anthony was able to grab the offensive board and pass the ball out to Pablo Prigioni for a wide open three, but Prigioni missed.
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 22 points. He was able to drive into the paint at will and continuously made things happen for the Grizzlies on offense. A major problem for the Knicks all season has been to stop the penetration of quick guards -- Conley made sure to take advantage of the Knicks poor perimeter defense.
The Grizzlies began the 2nd quarter on a 10-4 run to increase their lead to 11. During that run, Mike Miller made two threes and a two-point jumper. Afterwards, the Grizzlies continued to take advantage of the Knicks poor play and increased their lead to 18 (45-27) with 4:13 to go. The Knicks went into halftime trailing 50-37.
In the first half, the Knicks were very poor offensively and shot 34% from the field and 0-9 from 3-point range. Nobody scored in double-digits for either team in the half.
The 3rd quarter has been kryptonite for the Knicks this season, but that wasn’t the case in this game. The Knicks opened up the quarter on a 14-2 run and cut the lead to three. Raymond Felton played a major role during the run by penetrating and breaking down the Grizzlies defense. At the end of the 3rd, the Knicks trailed by two.
Almost midway through the 4th, the Knicks took their first lead since early in the game with a 9-0 run. Hardaway Jr. hit a 3-pointer to tie the game, then on the next possession, Anthony hit a baseline jumper to take the lead. With 5:39 left, the Knicks held a 84-77 lead.
Later, Conley regained the lead for the Grizzlies with a floater in the lane -- the Grizzlies were up 91-90 with 1:18 to go. Hardaway Jr. responded on the next possession with a pull up 3-pointer to give the Knicks a 93-91 lead. Then with 45.9 seconds left on the clock, Mike Miller hit a wide open 3-pointer to give the Grizzlies the lead.
On the following possession, Anthony got into the paint and passed the ball to a wide open J.R. Smith in the corner -- Smith air-balled the three. Afterwards, Conley hit two free throws to give the Grizzlies a three-point cushion.
This is the first game of a four-game road trip, the next game will be in New Orleans versus the Pelicans on Wednesday. The Knicks currently sit 3.5 games out of the playoff picture.
Key Stats: Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 23 points off the bench. Carmelo Anthony finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds -- shot 8-22 from the field and played 42 minutes, Anthony seemed gassed towards the end of the game. Amar’e Stoudemire scored 12 points and grabbed 6 rebounds off the bench.
Mike Conley had 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Zach Randolph had 13 points and 8 rebounds. Tayshaun Prince finished with 10 points. Mike Miller had a huge 19 points off the bench. Nick Calathes had 11 points and 5 assists off the bench.
Key Notes: Mike Conley returned to the Grizzlies starting lineup after missing seven games due to a sprained ankle. Kenyon Martin will sit out all four games of the road trip to nurse his sprained ankle.
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