With the score tied at 10-10, the Grizzlies took advantage of some early foul trouble for the Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire to score 10 unanswered points and never looked back.
“We came out with a sense of urgency. We knew we needed this game,” Memphis forward Rudy Gay told reporters. “We couldn’t extend that losing streak. We’re still a good team, and we want to show that night in and night out.”
The Knicks trailed 49-38 at halftime and were dealt another blow when top scorer Carmelo Anthony left the game early in the third quarter with a sprained ankle after scoring 14 points.
“Yeah, I’m beat up,” said Anthony, who is also nursing a wrist injury.
“I want to see how I feel by Saturday. I’m not going to force it. If my ankle’s not right by Saturday, then I’ll be looking at Monday. I don’t want to take too much time off, but I want to be healthy at the same time.”
Memphis (4-6) stretched their lead to a game-high 25 points in the third and fourth quarters before they took their foot off the gas and allowed the Knicks to reduce the deficit.
The Grizzlies were led by Gay’s 26 points, while O.J. Mayo scored 18 off the bench, Tony Allen added 12 and Marc Gasol registered a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Anthony’s 14 points were matched by Bill Walker as the Knicks (6-5) shot just 37 percent from the field.
“I just thought emotionally we didn’t come out with the right energy,” Knicks coach D’Antoni said. “They jumped on us. We tried to resolve the problem one-on-one, everybody, and it didn’t work out.”
(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario. Editing by John O’Brien)