Grizzlies Snow on Knick Win Streak. Memphis 118 NY 114

It was snowing in Memphis. On a Friday night in mid March — 3 to 4 inches coming down outside while the Knicks were giving the 45-22 Memphis Grizzlies all they could handle inside the FedEx Forum. NY had a big 3rd quarter to take a 15 point lead with a minute left in the period, but once again, the Knicks could not close it out. Instead, Ja Morant stepped up and won the game in the final 5 minutes.

It ended NY’s 3-game win streak, leaving them 28-39 with 15 games left in the season. NY needs to go 13-2 to finish at .500. Memphis meanwhile has the 2nd best record in all of basketball.

1. Third-Quarter Riches

Memphis had a 12-point lead in the 2nd quarter but the Knicks hung with them and wouldn’t go away — pulling to within 5 at the half.

And then in the 3rd, the Knicks took over — Julius Randle and RJ Barrett leading the scoring charge, and the Knicks defense, anchored by an active Mitchell Robinson, throttling Memphis — making them look error-prone and quieting the crowd.

When Julius Randle hit a deuce with a minute left in the quarter, NY had run up a 15-point lead with a 1:08 left in the 3rd.

But then Ja Morant got serious. To that point Morant was having a poor shooting night — taking a lot of shots and missing most. But with the game in the balance he raised his game. Morant hit a jumper and got a breakaway dunk off a bad Evan Fournier pass (sandwiching a Kyle Anderson dunk) and just like that Memphis was within 9 entering the 4th.

2. Fourth-Quarter Doom

Morant was out of the game for rest to start the 4th, but when he came back in with 9:28 left he immediately hit a 3 to pull Memphis within 5.

Brandon Clarke, Tyrus Jones, and Jaren Jackson helped Morant with buckets andi finally, with 3 minutes left, free throws by Morant put Memphis back on top, 107-106.

Jaren Jackson blocks on Barrett and Randle attempts throttled NY down the stretch, while on the other end, Morant scored 10 points in 2 minutes — layups, alleyoops, and free throws — lots of free throws (6-6) and it was game over — a 106-105 Knick lead became a 115-108 Memphis lead with a minute left.

Jaren Jackson Jr finished with 5 blocked shots, Brandon Clarke blocked 4 leading Memphis to block 16 shots.

NY tried in vain to make it closer in the final minute — and two missed free throws by Desmond Bane with 14 seconds left, followed by a Mitchell Robinson dunk made it 117-114 and gave NY a Hail Marry’s chance. But Morant was purposely fouled, went to the line and made 2 more free throws and it was game over.

Morant finished with 37 points on 14-33 shooting (1-4 from 3; 8-10 in free throws) — not great shooting overall but he made them when they counted, and really rose to the occasion at the end.

3. Knicks Hung Tough with Great Team

It was a disappointing loss but the Knicks showed again they can play with anyone — almost beating the team with the 2nd best record in the NBA on their home court.

Julius Randle ended up with 36 points on 11-27 shooting (3-6 from 3; 11-13 in free throws), 12 rebounds, and 6 assists, and RJ Barrett had a strong game (23 points on 9-23 shooting) but neither came up with enough big buckets in the final 5 minutes to quell Morant.

Mitchell Robinson finished with a bang-up night: 10 points on 5-8 shooting, 16 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 steals, and 4 assists.

Alec Burks had a good game with 18 points, Evan Fournier added 12, and Immanuel Quickley 11.



The game started out with an Elvis Pressley impersonation from Walt Frazier, standing with Marv Albert’s son and Knick broadcaster Kenny Albert:

The game ended with an Elvis Pressley impersonation by Clyde:

Meanwhile outside, it was snowing out in Memphis:

The Boxscore

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