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Marc Gasol carries Memphis Grizzlies past New York Knicks

By Phil Stukenborg, The Sports Xchange   |   Jan. 18, 2016 at 12:39 AM
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marc Gasol supplied the bulk of the offense for the Memphis Grizzlies with 37 points, but the All-Star center wanted to talk defense after a 103-95 victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday night at FedExForum.

After shooting nearly 50 percent from the field through three quarters, the Knicks were held to 33 percent (6 of 18) in the fourth as the Grizzlies used an aggressive defense to win their fifth straight against New York.

The Knicks were playing without injured leading scorer Carmelo Anthony, who missed his second straight game with a sprained right ankle. Forward Kristaps Porzingis led New York with 17 points and reserve forward Kyle O'Quinn scored 15.

"We got defensive stops consistently (in the fourth quarter) and once we do that it takes so much pressure off our offense," Gasol said. "It makes it a lot easier for us to play. If we run up and down and let them score and get in a (back-and-forth) battle with them, we are not going to win consistently."

Knicks forward Derrick Williams finished with 13 points but scored only three in nearly 10 minutes of the fourth quarter.

"That's a defensive-minded team over there," Williams said. "They made us take tough shots late in the shot clock and they killed us on the offensive boards."

Memphis had 13 offensive rebounds to six for New York. The Grizzlies also had 18 second-chance points.

"I think that's what kind of killed us and killed our energy, those second-chance points with those offensive rebounds that they got," Porzingis said. "And we just weren't able to make shots."

Which can't be said for Gasol, who set career highs for shots made (15) and attempted (29) and missed his career scoring high by one point.

"I got into a rhythm," Gasol said. "I started shooting the ball. The ball didn't go in every time. I was not thinking about passing at all, or getting anyone else going or getting the team to play good basketball. I was just thinking about scoring."

There were 17 lead changes and 12 ties through three quarters before the Grizzlies pulled away in the fourth quarter behind Gasol. The score was tied entering the fourth quarter, but Gasol had nine points in the first six minutes as the Grizzlies built a double-digit advantage. He finished with 11 points in the quarter.

"The big fellow, he's one of the best centers in the game," Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph said. "I tell him all the time to be aggressive and look for your shot. He's so unselfish.

"I tell him how he goes is how we go, so be aggressive sometimes. Force some (shots) here and there. I tell him that's OK. That's what you're here for."

Gasol played a game-high 41 minutes. No other teammate played more than 33.

"The tone of his body was 'I'm going to score until you stop me,'" Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said of Gasol. "He didn't wait a lot in the post. He caught it and made an aggressive move."

Memphis (23-19) improved to 4-1 on its current six-game homestand, its longest of the season. New York dropped to 20-22 overall and 0-4 without the injured Anthony.

Grizzlies reserve forward Jeff Green added 18 points off the bench.

"We came out in the second half and had a lot more urgency," Joerger.

The Grizzlies opened the final quarter with a 21-6 run, capped by a Mario Chalmers 3-pointer from the corner for a 94-79 lead.

Memphis outrebounded the Knicks 44-36 and scored 32 points in the paint.

"We couldn't make enough winning plays in the fourth quarter, essentially," Knicks coach Derek Fisher said. "(And) we allowed them to get second chances."

Through three quarters the Grizzlies and Knicks were tied at 73 and both teams had identical shooting numbers (29 of 59 for 49.2 percent).

In an extremely clean and competitive first half, the Knicks claimed a 54-52 advantage. Both teams shot 50 percent or better and committed only a combined eight turnovers.

NOTES: Knicks F Carmelo Anthony, averaging 21.6 points and 7.6 rebounds, missed his second straight game since spraining his right ankle Tuesday night against the Celtics. Anthony injured his ankle after stepping on the foot of referee Steve Anderson while backpedaling on defense. Anthony is expected to play Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers. ... Grizzlies PG Mike Conley missed his sixth straight game with a sore left Achilles. No timetable has been given for Conley's return. ... Saturday's game marked the first time Grizzlies F Matt Barnes and Knicks coach Derek Fisher have met since an altercation at the California home of Barnes' ex-wife, Gloria Govan, in October. Barnes was reprimanded by the NBA, which imposed a two-game suspension on Barnes for attacking and threatening Fisher. When asked to comment on Barnes, Fisher declined. "Look, man, we are here to play basketball. This is about a basketball game, not about me and what happened. So if you have some basketball questions, that's what I'm here for. There is nothing to talk about. Decisions have been made. I say we move on." ... The Grizzlies wore throwback uniforms of the old Memphis Sounds of the American Basketball Association. The Sounds, who also played in the early 1970s as the Pros and Tams, were in the ABA from 1970 to 1975.

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