The New York Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak in emphatic form on Thursday night.
The Knicks did what they do best: score.
In their convincing 120-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, the Knickerbockers set a franchise record with 20 three-pointers.
The net caught on fire NBA Jam style, every time a Knick drained one from downtown. The Knicks went 20-of-36 from beyond the arc, with 49 percent of their field goals coming from three-point range. They made more three-pointers than free throws (18).
The Knicks’ previous record of 19 three-pointers also came against the Grizzlies, back on November 12, 2008.
MSG’s finest were doing the Dougie Thursday night. Toney Douglas matched a franchise record with nine three-pointers of his own, tying Latrell Sprewell (twice) and John Starks. Douglas came off the bench to score a game-high 29 points.
Douglas once again flashed his hot hands. After going four-of-six from beyond the arc on Tuesday night in Indiana, he went nine-for-12 on Thursday and fell one point shy of his season high.
He has better catch-and-shoot ability than anyone on the Knicks.
When Chauncey Billups missed six games earlier this month, Douglas stepped up and earned himself more playing time. He has shown the ability to keep up with the Knicks’ offensive tempo, and his college days showed his defensive skills (he won Defensive Player of the Year with Florida State in his senior year).
As I have previously written, I believe Douglas can be the point guard of the future for the Knicks.
Billups had his best game since returning from a leg injury. He scored 18 points and led the Knicks with eight assists.
Carmelo Anthony contributed 28 points, his 11th game with 20 or more points in 13 games since joining the Knicks.
Amar’e Stoudemire, the league’s second leading scorer, had a slower night with 16 points, but contributed nine rebounds.
Will the Knicks be able to rely on their three-point shooting to win them every game? Obviously not. But they played better defense and were able to beat a tough Memphis team.
This was a much-needed win for the Knicks, who have struggled to find a rhythm since their blockbuster trade, while the Nuggets have gone 9-2 since the swap. The Nuggets have jumped up to fifth in the Western Conference standings, while the Knicks have remained in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference.
The fans have no reason to panic about the 7-6 new-look Knicks. It does not seem like the Knicks will lose their seven-game cushion on an Eastern Conference playoff spot, although they will need to play better if they want to hold on to the sixth spot, since the Philadelphia 76ers are only half a game back.
With 15 games to go (nine of them against teams under .500), the struggling Atlanta Hawks, who are only 3.5 games up on the Knicks, are well within reach.