Daily Confidential

If it weren't for having the league's worst home record, the New York Knicks could have found themselves atop a very weak Atlantic Division.

Looking to change their atrocious play at home, the Knicks continue a season-high six-game homestand on Monday against the Memphis Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks are 5-6 on the road, but are 1-7 at home. Despite having the most losses in the Eastern Conference, New York (6-13) is only 2 1/2 games behind Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey.

New York has lost four straight at MSG and four of its seven losses have been by double-digits.

``We're very tentative and cautious at home,'' Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. ``There's an aggressiveness that we display out on the road, that for whatever reason we haven't been able to overcome our fears of playing at home.

``It's totally mental. It has nothing to do with physical. It's definitely mental.''

The Knicks lost 103-100 to Toronto on Saturday in the opener of the homestand. Eddy Curry had 27 points and Quentin Richardson had 16 points and 16 rebounds, but finished 6-for-18 from the floor after making five of nine shots in the first quarter.

New York was just 6-for-23 from 3-point range and Richardson missed a game-tying 3-pointer in the final minute.

The Knicks agree that it's a mental block preventing them from playing better at home.

``I wish we could figure that out,'' forward David Lee said. ``I don't know if that is the sole issue but we aren't playing as well as we should at home. I like playing at the Garden. I like the energy at the Garden. I think it is a great home for us to play at. We should win here.

``We haven't started games well here. On the road we have been typically getting off to good starts. That is something we have to figure out. More than anything I think it is a mental mind set. It is something, mentally, we need to overcome.''

The Knicks have lost four of their last five at home to Memphis, but did snap a three-game losing streak overall to the Grizzlies with a thrilling 118-117 triple-overtime victory on the road on Nov. 1 in the season opener for both teams.

Richardson scored 31 points and Jamal Crawford had 21, despite missing chances to win the game at the end of the first and second overtimes.

Hakim Warrick finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds in the loss that was the beginning of what has been a rough season for the Grizzlies (4-12). They beat Charlotte 96-83 in their second game, then lost seven straight.

Memphis - which has the NBA's worst record - is 1-8 on the road as it begins a three-game trip.

``They're a talented team and were ready to play,'' Grizzlies forward Mike Miller said of the Knicks. ``They'll be ready to play at home. We have to look at this road trip and do it there.''

The Grizzlies lost 98-97 at home to Miami on Saturday night as the Heat's James Posey hit a 26-foot shot over Miller at the buzzer, stunning the Grizzlies.

``It's pretty self-explanatory really. He made a tough shot,'' Miller said. ``I really don't even know if he looked at the winning shot.''

Miller led the Grizzlies with 21 points while rookie Rudy Gay scored 20 off the bench after starting the previous nine games.

Memphis also plays Boston and Milwaukee on the road trip.

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