Marbury helps Knicks beat Grizzlies
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New York vs
90 - 82
Record: 8-6
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stephon Marbury was a good five feet behind the 3-point arc when he shot and hit nothing but net. The 3-pointer was Marbury's third of the second quarter, and he went on to hit two more before the period ended.

That burst of long-distance shooting, along with a rare fourth-quarter offensive boost from Jerome Williams, led the New York Knicks to a 90-82 victory Wednesday night over the reeling Memphis Grizzlies.

"We couldn't get anything going, and I sensed that," Marbury said. "I just pretty much tried to make something happen."

That he did, accounting for 17 points in a 19-8 run to close the first half that put the Knicks in control for good. The victory was the Knicks' sixth straight at home and their fifth in six games overall, and what made this one impressive was their commitment to defense down the stretch.

Penny Hardaway's 3 pointer with 5:17 remaining was New York's last field goal, but the Knicks' four free throws over the remainder of the game provided more than enough offense.

"Guys are playing extremely hard, playing defense, talking and communicating way better," Marbury said. "It seems like we're starting to like each other on the court now because we're talking so much. Before, we didn't talk at all."

Earlier in the fourth quarter, the scoring came from an unlikely source.

Williams, averaging just 4.5 points and known mostly for his hustle, defense and rebounding, scored New York's first seven points of the fourth quarter. He finished with nine points -- all in the final quarter -- and played strong defense against Pau Gasol to help hold him to 4-for-12 shooting.

"What I did was basically nothing compared to what he did," Marbury said of Williams, acquired in the offseason trade that brought Jamal Crawford from Chicago. "He was on both ends of the court, dominating, getting offensive fouls, making Gasol work.

"And then to come down on the offensive end and give us a punch the way he did, it was electrifying."

The loss was the fifth straight for Memphis, and the fourth since the unexpected resignation of coach Hubie Brown. The Grizzlies were in talks with Mike Fratello to become their new coach, but no deal had been finalized.

"A lot of people say they don't think about it or try not to think about it, but you need a foundation," Memphis guard Earl Watson said. "You need consistency. Uncertainty always kills you."

Marbury scored 26 points, Michael Sweetney had 11 points and Nazr Mohammed added 10 on a night when Knicks starters Kurt Thomas (2-for-14) and Crawford (4-for-14) struggled from the field.

Bonzi Wells led Memphis with 16 points, and Lorenzen Wright had 12.

Several players share the Knicks' team record of five 3-pointers in a quarter. The last to do it was Latrell Sprewell on Jan. 26, 2002. ... Point guard Jason Williams was a last-minute addition to the Memphis starting lineup. He missed the Grizzlies' game Tuesday night due to a sprained right index finger. He had nine points and nine assists in 31 minutes. ... The Grizzlies had won their three previous games at Madison Square Garden. ... New York improved to 8-6, its first time being two games over .500 since Dec. 7, 2001 -- the day before Jeff Van Gundy resigned as coach.

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