Thursday , Nov , 02 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Third time’s a charm: NY downs Memphis to give Isiah first win

Memphis, TN (Sports Network) – Quentin Richardson scored a game-high 31
points, hitting a pair of free throws with 11.9 seconds left in the third
overtime to give New York a 118-117 win over Memphis in the season opener for
both teams.

Jamal Crawford added 21 points, but missed jumpers at the end of regulation
and the first two overtimes that would have given the Knicks the win.

Stephon Marbury tallied 19 points and eight assists and Eddy Curry had 17
points and 14 boards for New York, which blew a 19-point fourth-quarter lead
only to survive and give Isiah Thomas his first win as head coach of the team
he built while serving as president the last three years.

Chucky Atkins had 25 points and Hakim Warrick had 22 points and 12 rebounds
for the Grizzlies, whose deficit was too much to overcome. Rookie Rudy Gay
added 21 points and Mike Miller had 18 points for Memphis, which began its
comeback early in the fourth quarter.

Down 19 points, the Grizzlies began to get back in the game. First, an 11-0
run capped by two Gay free throws drew Memphis within 83-74 with just over
half the quarter to play.

After New York went back up 87-74, the Grizzlies continued to chip away. The
Knicks scored just two more points the rest of regulation, not hitting a
basket from the floor.

A Warrick bucket ended an 8-0 surge that drew Memphis to 87-82. Then, Gay hit
a breakaway layup after Steve Francis lost the ball on the other end, giving
the Grizzlies their first lead since the second quarter, 89-88.

Marbury tied the game at 89-89 when he hit one-of-two free throws with 56
seconds left. Francis then missed a jumper after David Lee got Marbury’s
missed free throw and New York called a timeout.

However, Lee blocked Noah Lowry’s attempt, giving the Knicks the ball with 21
seconds left.

After a timeout with 14 seconds left, Richardson inbounded the ball to
Crawford, who stood near midcourt with the ball as time ran down. With
about five seconds remaining he began to make his move and pulled up from
three and missed as time expired.

New York led by as many as four points in the first overtime, but it was
Memphis ahead 99-98 after Gay hit a runner with 29 seconds left. Lee then
putback a Crawford miss with 19 second on the clock for a 100-99 edge.

With 8.9 seconds left, Miller missed a pair of free throw, but Curry couldn’t
come down with the rebound and the ball eventually found its way to Warrick,
who was fouled with 4.9 left. Warrick missed his first free throw and hit the
second to tie the contest. Crawford, though, missed his second jumper as time
expired, sending the game into a second OT.

In the second OT, the game was close all the way to the end. After Crawford
missed a runner with nine seconds left, Lawrence Roberts grabbed the rebound
and called a time out with 5.7 seconds left. Miller, though, missed a runner
on the other end and a clean putback was never made.

Richardson finally gave New York the lead with 11.9 seconds left in the third
OT after he was fouled by Miller going to the basket in transition. Miller had
one last chance give the Grizzlies the win, but missed a short jumper and Lee
grabbed the rebound to secure the victory.

Lee ended with 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks.

Memphis led 25-20 after one quarter, but by the midpoint mark of the second
the Knicks had gone ahead for good. With just under eight minutes left before
halftime, Francis hit a pair of free throws to give New York a 34-33 edge and
Curry added a bucket under 30 seconds later for a three-point lead.

Miller later drew the Grizzlies within 38-37, but New York ended the half by
scoring 13 of the final 22 points to take a 51-46 lead into the break.

The Knicks then began to pull away in the third, going ahead by double digits
for the first time on a Curry free throw, 59-49, with just over 3 1/2 minutes
gone in the half. New York eventually went ahead 67-51 on a Richardson three-
pointer with just over 6 1/2 minute to go in the quarter and cruised into the
fourth with a 71-60 cushion.

Then, an 11-1 run early in the third gave the Knicks their largest lead 82-63
nearly three minutes into the stanza. Lee capped the surge with his dunk.

Game Notes

Memphis played its first game without forward Pau Gasol, who is expected to
miss four months of action with a foot injury that required surgery…Francis
ended with just two points in 34 minutes before fouling out…Marbury and
Curry also fouled out for the Knicks…Warrick was the only Memphis player to
foul out.