New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, right, pushes Memphis Grizzlies' Rudy Gay away during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Memphis, Tenn., Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)
Saturday, November 17, 2012 2:06 am
Grizzlies hand Knicks first loss, 105-95
By CLAY BAILEYAssociated Press
Zach Randolph had 20 points and 15 rebounds, Marc Gasol added 24 points and Memphis handed the Knicks their first loss of the season with a 105-95 victory on Friday night. At 7-1, the Grizzlies own the league's best record for the first time in franchise history.
"Sounds good," Memphis guard Mike Conley said. "I think we are playing well right now, obviously. We have played some very good teams in the past week. (We) are just going to try and keep it going."
With the 10-point win, the Grizzlies defeated the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder - last season's NBA finalists - and the previously undefeated Knicks by double digits this week.
Rudy Gay scored 17 points and blocked four shots, and Conley added 16 points and eight assists as Memphis won its seventh straight.
"The confidence is something that we have always had," Gay said. "I don't think it is (any) different as what we always have been. We are just playing basketball. We are getting better, that's all it is.
"We are just doing it at a higher level."
Carmelo Anthony scored 20 points for New York, which was trying to start 7-0 for the first time since the 1993-94 team that reached the NBA Finals. Raymond Felton scored 18 points and handed out five assists. Rasheed Wallace scored 13 points, shooting 6 of 10.
The game got away from New York in the third quarter, when the Knicks seemed to lose their composure during a Memphis rally, and complained about calls and drew technical fouls, including one on Knicks coach Mike Woodson.
"Our guys are competitive They want to win," Woodson said. "We are on a six-game winning streak. We didn't want that streak to break. But it did, so we have to start a new streak."
The Knicks shot 51 percent for the game, but Memphis had 12 offensive rebounds, leading to a 22-12 advantage in second-chance points.
Memphis led by as many as 21 in the third quarter and still held a 19-point lead in the early stages of the final period.
The Knicks answered with a 12-3 rally and appeared poised to make a comeback reminiscent of Thursday night's win at San Antonio, when New York outscored the Spurs 27-11 in the final 7:14 for a 104-100 victory.
But New York never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
The game started getting testy in the second quarter as the Grizzlies' Jerryd Bayless and New York's J.R. Smith got into it, earning double technicals. Gay got a tech when he disagreed with a no-call on a dunk attempt.
And through all that, Wallace was mouthing with everyone from the Grizzlies bench to the officials to the fans.
"That's part of my game," Wallace said. "I like to talk trash. That's what I do. But the thing about it is, I talk trash, and I can back it up. Then I like to have fun with the fans. They're jabbing at me, so I like to throw jabs at them. It's all in fun though."
Memphis led 54-49 at the break, both teams shooting well. The Knicks hit at a 57 percent clip, while Memphis connected on 54 percent. Conley had 13 for Memphis, while Anthony had 14 for the Knicks.
Wallace already had matched his season high with 10 points before intermission.
Memphis opened the second half with a 23-7 spurt. Gasol had eight in the run, and the Knicks continued picking up technical fouls.
The Grizzlies' rally built the advantage to 77-56 when Tony Allen converted a three-point play after Smith was called for a flagrant foul on Allen's drive. That was just one of the things that caused the Knicks play to go awry in the period.
"There in the third quarter, we tried to do it individually instead of just moving the ball," guard Jason Kidd said. "Guys got great looks and they didn't go in. .Emotion is part of the game. For the whole team, this is a test we can learn from."
New York cut into the margin slightly, but Memphis still carried an 85-67 lead into the fourth after outscoring the Knicks 31-18 in the period.
The Knicks started a comeback to open the fourth period, outscoring Memphis 12-3 in the early stages of the period.
That got New York within 91-81 with 6:18 left on Felton's jumper in the lane.
"The third quarter got away from us," Anthony said. "Techs, they made some shots. We missed some shots. They got the momentum, kind of slowed the game down. We made a run and cut it to eight, but they already had the momentum going, so we were just in an uphill battle from there."
But several Knick players noted that the battle and the roughhouse game is just the first round of the series between the two teams.
"One thing we're saying," Wallace said, "They've got to come to the Garden."
NOTES: Memphis has won 15 straight regular-season home games. Memphis' last loss during the regular season at home was last March 16 to Toronto in overtime. . Smith came into the game leading the league in 3-point shooting on 14 of 19. He ended the night 0 for 3 from outside the arc. . The Knicks finished their three-game road trip at 2-1. . Wallace's 13 points and 24 minutes were season highs in both categories.