The Knicks started the second half of the season much like the first half ended -- with a disappointing loss in a game they could have won.
New York led by four with 2:28 to play but couldn’t hold on in Memphis, falling 98-93 to the Grizzlies. They are 13 games under .500 and 3½ games behind Charlotte in the race for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks have lost six of seven overall. With the trade deadline approaching on Thursday, it will be interesting to see if the Knicks’ front office makes a move or stands pat, conceding that this season is a lost one.
Comeback falls short: After falling behind by as many as 18, the Knicks came storming back in the second half. They outscored Memphis by nine in the third and tied the score early in the fourth on an Amar'e Stoudemire jumper.
Tim Hardaway Jr. heated up in the fourth, scoring 14 of his game-high 23 points to help the Knicks take a late lead as New York made seven straight shots at one point. Hardaway Jr.’s 3-pointer with 1:04 left gave New York a two-point edge. Mike Miller (19 points) answered immediately with a 3 of his own. The Knicks then missed their last four shots and walked off the floor with a forgettable loss.
Carmelo Anthony finished with 22 points on 8-for-22 shooting. Pablo Prigioni had 10 assists and seven points but missed a potential game-tying 3 with five seconds to play. Stoudemire had 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting. J.R. Smith, playing his first game with a protective mask on his face, had four points on 2-for-8 shooting.
Slow start: For most of the first half, the Knicks played like they were still on the All-Star break. They went 9-for-28 in the first quarter and trailed by as many as 18. They missed their first nine 3-point attempts. Anthony missed his first six field goal attempts.
Felton, Shumpert benched in fourth: Woodson went away from his starting backcourt in the fourth. Both Felton and Shumpert were benched for Prigioni and Hardaway Jr.
Shumpert went 3-for-9 and scored six points in 20 minutes. He missed all five of his 3-point attempts. Felton had six points, one assists and one turnover in 29 minutes. He shot 2-for-7 and missed all three of his 3-point attempts.
Both players have been mentioned in trade rumors in recent days as the Knicks look to upgrade their backcourt ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline.
What’s next: The Knicks will travel to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans on Wednesday.
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