Robinson and the Knicks, facing the Grizzlies for the first time since a dominant effort two months ago, look to hand Memphis a season-high eighth straight defeat on Friday night in its first game since coach Mark Iavaroni was fired.
Late Thursday night, the Grizzlies (11-30) became the seventh team this season to dismiss its coach after they fired Marc Iavaroni. Assistant Johnny Davis will take over on an interim basis.
However, The Commercial Appeal reported on its Web site that Davis will coach the Grizzlies for the next two games before Lionel Hollins rejoins the team for a third stint as head coach. Hollins is an assistant with Milwaukee.
Iavaroni led Memphis to a 22-60 record last season in his first year as an NBA head coach.
“We have a situation where we weren’t wining consistently enough,” Davis said. “Our fans weren’t coming enough and we weren’t doing enough to make things happen. In the NBA, as with most professional sports, change is inevitable when you’re not winning.”
Now Davis will be running the Grizzlies as they face a New York team that has won four of five at home, including 115-109 over Phoenix on Wednesday to give coach Mike D’Antoni his first win over his former team.
The fourth-year guard ventured off the bench and onto the court, bumping into Stoudemire after the Suns forward tripped over Lee’s legs. That earned Robinson a technical foul and sparked a Phoenix run late in the first half.
New York, though, outscored Phoenix 60-51 in the second half, working D’Antoni’s up-tempo offense to near perfection.
Another stellar offensive game for the Knicks came at Memphis on Nov. 12, setting a franchise record with 19 3-pointers in a 132-103 win.
Robinson made all five of his attempts from beyond the arc and New York shot 55.9 percent (19-for-34) from long range. The Knicks’ previous record for 3-pointers was 17 against the Atlanta Hawks in 2005.
Robinson made all eight of his shots from the field and finished with 21 points against Memphis in November. He scored 20 versus the Suns after averaging 8.8 in his previous five contests.
Lee led the Knicks with 25 points and 16 rebounds Wednesday for his fifth straight double-double. He’s second in the NBA in double-doubles with a career-high 30.
New York is also starting to get solid contribution from rookie forward Danilo Gallinari, who had a career-high 10 points against Phoenix. He had nine points in a 102-98 win over Chicago on Monday in his second game back after missing most of the first half of the season with a sore back.
Gallinari, the No. 6 overall pick in last year’s draft, is 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
Memphis couldn’t stop Charlotte from long range on Wednesday, losing 101-86 as the Bobcats shot 43.8 percent (7-for-16) from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies have dropped 15 of 17 following a season-high four-game win streak.
Rookie guard O.J. Mayo, the No. 3 overall pick, had a rough night against Charlotte, making 5 of 11 shots and finishing with 13 points. Mayo is averaging a team-high 19.1 points and had 17 in his first matchup with New York.
Rudy Gay, who led Memphis with 20 points in that contest, had 26 against the Bobcats and is averaging 23.7 in his last three road games. The Grizzlies, though, have been held under 90 points in each of their last three games away from the FedEx Forum and are 2-16 on the road.
“We just have to play more solid,” Gay said.