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Knicks Downed by Grizzlies


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NEW YORK, March 24 (Ticker) -- All-Star forward Pau Gasol gave the New York Knicks all kinds of problems in the post.


Gasol collected 36 points and eight rebounds and Lorenzen Wright added 12 and nine as the Memphis Grizzlies won their sixth straight game, an easy 91-75 triumph over the reeling Knicks.


A 7-footer from Spain, Gasol was brilliant against New York's starting frontcourt of Malik Rose and Eddy Curry, who scored 19 points. He made 14-of-24 shots and added three blocks.


"Pau had a good first half and came back in the second half and was a solid force there," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said.


New York trailed by just four points at the start of the second quarter before Memphis pulled away for good. Wright had a slam and Eddie Jones drained a 3-pointer with just under five minutes remaining as Memphis opened a 36-21 advantage.


"The thing that we wanted to do was jump on them quick," Gasol said. "When you jump on them early, hit them first, then it's kind of hard to get back up. So that's what we wanted to do and I think it worked out pretty well."


The Grizzles held a commanding 47-31 bulge at intermission and pushed their lead to 22 points when Mike Miller, who scored 15 points, capped off a 15-4 burst with back-to-back 3-pointer.


The Knicks (19-49) never challenged thereafter and who absorbed their 27th double-digit loss.


During their six-game winning streak, the Grizzlies have allowed just 82.8 points per game.


"If we can keep this winning streak (going), it'd be great," Gasol said. "We still have 13 games left and still a lot of tough games to play. We just have a lot of confidence. We're trying to finish up the season and get a good spot in the playoffs."


Memphis (40-29) moved into a virtual tie for fifth place in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Clippers (39-28).


"We were in free-fall there for a while," Fratello said. "But at some point, you got to grab hold of it, if you're going to stay involved in the playoff race. It's good to see the way they did it. You got to get one before you can get two and then you go from there and try and build on it."


Jones and Shane Battier scored 10 points apiece for Memphis, which shot 41 percent (30-of-72).


The Grizzlies, who came into the game forcing 15 turnovers per contest, scored 31 points off 20 giveaways by the Knicks.


"We did a good job of forcing turnovers and that was a big factor in the game," Fratello said. "That helped us open a lead in the second quarter."


"We turned the ball over way too many times," Knicks guard Jamal Crawford said. "I think we had 17 turnovers in the first half. There is no way you give yourself a chance to win that way."


Steve Francis scored 11 points and Curry pulled down 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who shot 38 percent (28-of-73), including just 2-of-10 from the arc.


"I think that's been the case all year," Knicks coach Larry Brown said. "We don't take anything away defensively, we don't get loose balls, we don't get long rebounds. You rarely see us get a steal. And then we turn the ball over so many times without getting a shot and if you have any deficiencies at all on defense, you're getting killed in transition."


New York played without forwards Qyntel Woods (flu) and Quentin Richardson (sprained left thumb).


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