GRIZZLIES 105 KNICKS 95 | FEDEX FORUM
How it happened:
On Friday night in Memphis, the Knicks made a late push but could not overcome the sizzling Grizzlies at FedEx Forum. For the first time in the 2012-13 season, New York suffered a loss, falling 105-95 to the West’s top team.
The monsters in the middle for Memphis took over in the third quarter while the Knicks dealt with some serious foul trouble. Trailing by just three points three minutes into the period, Carmelo Anthony was whistled for his fourth personal foul, which was followed by a technical on New York’s leading scorer. The Grizzlies quickly kicked their offense into high gear by posting a 7-0 run over the next two minutes to gain separation.
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph combined for 17 points in the game-changing third frame. Head coach Mike Woodson opted to use the small-ball lineup that had propelled the Knicks to a 6-0 record. New York was missing one of its big, athletic frontline players Amar’e Stoudemire, who is nursing knee injury for the next several weeks.
The comeback attempt became more difficult when Tyson Chandler was hit with his fifth foul at the 6:32 mark and Woodson placed Kurt Thomas in the lineup next to Rasheed Wallace. After an impressive outing in the first half, where he scored 10 points, Wallace was also in the danger zone with four fouls.
A technical from Woodson, a flagrant one foul from J.R. Smith, the foul issues, and a hungry Grizzlies squad all added up to a 21-point deficit for the road team deep in the third quarter.
New York made a mini-comeback in the final stanza and even knocked down the lead to eight points with 4:37 remaining in the Friday night game. Rudy Gay answered the call with a pull-up 3-pointer followed by a baseline dunk to extend the Memphis advantage back over double digits.
The first half was filled with dramatics, including a scuffle between J.R. Smith and Jaryd Bayless, four lead changes, four times the game was tied, and several techs were handed out. Aside from all the side action, the early parts of the contest featured exciting, playoff-type basketball between two teams that figure to be contenders this postseason.
Anthony started the game strong with nine points in the first 10 minutes on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor. He matched his total from the previous night against the Spurs as he was held below double digits in the Knicks comeback win.
Anthony scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the first half, Felton chipped in 18 points, and Wallace contributed 13 off the pine. New York dropped to 6-1 on the season but it still holds the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Felton scored 18 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the floor. The point man also dished out five dimes and grabbed three boards in 35 minutes of action.
The Knicks suffered through a lopsided third quarter (31-18), which eventually led to the defeat. Aside from the third period, New York matched Memphis on the glass (35-34), and points in the paint (42-42).
The Knicks concluded the grueling three-game road trip in Memphis and jumped on a plane back to New York. With only one day of rest, the team will hit the floor on Sunday afternoon in a matchup against the Pacers at MSG.