Posted November 16, 2012 on
AP on Fox
New York Knicks
Oklahoma City Thunder
Los Angeles Clippers
The New York Knicks remain the league's only undefeated team.
If they want to keep it that way, they'll have to snap the Memphis Grizzlies' 14-game regular-season home winning streak.
New York will look to continue its best start in 19 seasons Friday night when the Grizzlies try to extend their best-ever start with a seventh consecutive victory.
Down by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter on Thursday, the Knicks (6-0) closed on a 27-11 run to defeat San Antonio 104-100. It was the most points New York had given up this season, and it was its first win by fewer than 10 points, but a victory over a top opponent was all that counted.
"It shows me this team is for real," coach Mike Woodson said.
The Knicks, who are off to their best start since the 1993-94 team opened 7-0 en route to an NBA finals appearances, have a chance to go 4-0 on the road for the first time since 1996-97. The Grizzlies (6-1), though, are 3-0 at home for the first time and undefeated at FedExForum in regular-season play since a 114-110 overtime loss to Toronto on March 16.
Perfect since a 101-92 season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis is coming off back-to-back victories over last season's NBA finalists. The host Grizzlies defeated Miami 104-86 on Sunday, then won 107-97 at Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
"(The Thunder are) one of the best teams in the West,'' said Memphis forward Zach Randolph, who posted his seventh consecutive double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. "We're trying to get where they're at."
The league is investigating a reported hallway altercation between Randolph, the NBA rebounding leader (14.0 per game), and Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who were both ejected late in Wednesday's game, so it's uncertain if that will keep the Grizzlies' big man out of the lineup.
Randolph (16.7 points per game), center Marc Gasol (14.1) and Rudy Gay (20.7) have helped Memphis rank among the league's best with 46.0 points per game in the paint.
Point guard Mike Conley is off to a decent start from beyond the arc (9 for 25), but the Grizzlies' best 3-point shooters are reserves - Wayne Ellington (11 for 24), Jerryd Bayless (10 for 18) and Quincy Pondexter (10 for 22).
No one in the league has been better from long range than Knicks guard J.R. Smith, who is 14 for 19 while scoring a career-best 18.0 points per game. He hit his only attempt Thursday while finishing with 17 points.
New York made 11 for 25 from 3-point range in the victory - four from Jason Kidd and two apiece from Rasheed Wallace and Raymond Felton, who had a season-best 25 points with seven assists.
The Knicks are averaging a league-high 11.8 3s.
Knicks leading scorer Carmelo Anthony (23.8 ppg) finished with a season-low nine at San Antonio, but he's enjoyed some recent success in Memphis. Anthony averaged 31.8 points in his previous five games at FedExForum before finishing with 14 in a 94-83 loss Jan. 12 when he left in the third quarter with a sprained right ankle.
These teams have alternated wins in their last seven games at Memphis.
Gay has scored at least 20 points in all seven career starts against the Knicks.
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J.R. Smith is enjoying a stretch in which he is playing the best basketball of his career. He’s currently averaging 18.2 points per game this season, which is second on the club trailing only Carmelo Anthony. This morning when asked about head coach Mike Woodson calling Smith “more professional,” J.R. gave the reason why: he’s not partying as much. Smith said:
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