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Grizzlies fall to Knicks in heartbreaker

The Grizzlies fought back from a double-digit second-half deficit Wednesday night, just as they have done many times before. But over the extended arm of Tony Allen with 0.5 seconds remaining, Carmelo Anthony hit the game-winning shot.

Just as he has done many times before.

In only his ninth game as a member of the New York Knicks, Anthony hit his first game-winner with his new club, giving the road team a 110-108 victory at FedExForum.

Anthony’s deciding 19-footer, almost identical to the 17-foot game-winner Zach Randolph hit for the Grizzlies on Saturday in Dallas, came after Randolph tied the game with an impressive and-1 with 14.2 seconds to play.

“It was just one of those shots that you knew was going to go in,” said Anthony. “I had plenty of shots the whole game like that that didn’t go in, but that particular one, I knew it was going in.”

Despite the All-Star forward’s claim, the Grizzlies might argue with Anthony’s use of the word “plenty.” The Knicks seemingly didn’t miss in the first three quarters, hitting .603 of their shots en route to 96 points in 36 minutes. Anthony shot at a .500 clip (12-of-24 FG) for the game, netting him a game-high 31 points.

“It was a tough game,” said Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur, who had 21 points off the bench in the losing cause. “Those guys shot lights out tonight.”

When the Knicks did go cold, though, the Grizzlies were there to take advantage. Memphis scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to cut a 14-point lead down to 96-90, and continued to chip away throughout the frame. Randolph’s game-tying and-1 capped a 10-0 run as the Knicks made just 5-of-19 field goals in the fourth before adding a sixth bucket to win the game.

“It feels good,” Anthony said. “It just goes to show that we can win games in close situations.”

There might not have been a close situation had the Grizzlies not been able to stay in the game by getting to the free throw line—and more, make their free throws. Memphis earned an astonishing 35-4 advantage in free throw attempts, hitting a season-high .943 at the charity stripe (33-of-35 FT). All of New York’s franchise-low tying four attempts came from Anthony.

Despite his heroics, Anthony had plenty of help. Amar’e Stoudemire added 26 points while Toney Douglas, starting in place of the injured Chauncey Billups, recorded a double-double with 18 points and a career-high 10 assists.

“I just thought the whole team, we played well,” said Knicks Head Coach Mike D’Antoni. “We played hard.”

The Grizzlies weren’t without a few quality performances of their own, as four players finished with 20-plus points, led by Tony Allen’s team-high 22. Zach Randolph tallied his 200th career 20-10 game with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Mike Conley added 20 points as well.

In the end, though, a big-time player hit a big-time shot, and there is little to do about that but give credit where it’s due and move on. Especially with a rubber-match in New York scheduled for March 17.

“I congratulated him,” Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said after Anthony’s game-winner. “It was a tough shot."

“We play them again next week, and I’m looking forward to that.”