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Knicks-Grizzlies Preview

AP - Sports

After a rough start, the New York Knicks have managed to turned things around.

Not much has gone right for the Memphis Grizzlies during the first few weeks of the season.

The visiting Knicks look to extend their winning streak to five games Thursday night while trying to hand the struggling Grizzlies a fourth consecutive defeat.

After opening with a 106-104 win over Boston on Christmas Day, New York (6-4) lost four of the next five and began to feel the frustration settling in. Instead of dwelling on their problems, though, the Knicks have regrouped to win four in a row and build some momentum.

The highlight of the current stretch came Wednesday when New York snapped Philadelphia's six-game winning streak with an 85-79 home victory. Carmelo Anthony had 27 points with nine rebounds, while Amare Stoudemire added 20 with 10 boards as the Knicks posted their first win over a team currently with a winning record.

Defense has paced the Knicks in the last three games as they've allowed an average 82.0 points to Detroit, Charlotte and the 76ers.

"I'm just excited about the way the defense is playing, because I know coach (Mike) D'Antoni's offense, it's going to get going,'' said center Tyson Chandler, who had 13 rebounds Wednesday.

That might not bode well for Memphis (3-6), which has dropped two straight against New York and has averaged just 87.3 points while losing its last three overall. The Grizzlies opened a challenging four-game homestand with a 100-95 loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday and now face the surging Knicks before welcoming New Orleans and Chicago.

"We have to go out and scratch out a win," coach Lionel Hollins told the Grizzlies' official website. "We just have to go out and try to get a win, and then we worry about the next one after that."

Memphis must worry about containing Anthony, who has averaged 31.8 points on 51.3 percent shooting in his last five games at the FedEx Forum. Anthony scored 31 points and hit the game-winning jumper with less than a second left to give New York a 110-108 win at Memphis on March 9.

Stoudemire, who scored 26 in that contest, is averaging 23.0 and 10.8 rebounds in the last five games overall since missing two with a sprained ankle.

Memphis forward Rudy Gay has averaged 22.0 points on 54.1 percent shooting in six career starts versus New York. Gay averages a team-leading 16.3 points per game but is shooting just 41.1 percent after missing 14 of 21 shots versus Oklahoma City.

"It's just a couple of his shots need to start falling, and when they do I'm already on the bandwagon," teammate Tony Allen said. "I'm a fan of Rudy and I just can't wait for him to get it back going. I know he will get it together."

With Zach Randolph out because of a knee injury, the Grizzlies need 7-foot-1 Marc Gasol to step up inside against Stoudemire and Chandler on Thursday.

Gasol, who had 20 points and 14 boards against the Thunder, has scored at least 20 in two of his last three games while pulling down 11.8 rebounds per contest in the last six.

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