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Crittenton's 23 points help Grizzlies cruise past Knicks

Apr 3, 2008 - 3:52 AM By Jason Smith PA Sportsticker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) - Donnie Walsh has his work cut out for him as the new team president of the the New York Knicks.

The Knicks, who announced Walsh's hiring Wednesday during a press conference in New York, remained winless on the road against the Western Conference this season with a 130-114 loss to the lowly Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum.

Rookie guard Javaris Crittenton scored a season-high 23 points to lead eight Memphis players in double figures, as the Grizzlies swept the season series against the Knicks for just the second time in team history.

"We came out and we hit hard in the first half," said Crittenton, who finished 7-of-11 from the field and added a career-high tying nine rebounds. "Also we didn't come out in the third and fourth quarters and become complacent about the lead."

Zach Randolph had a team-high 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for New York, which trailed by 11 after the first quarter, 14 at halftime, as well as 14 entering the final period. The Knicks, who never got closer than nine points in the fourth, fell to 0-9 this season against the Southwest Division and 0-14 on the road versus the Western Conference.

Earlier Wednesday, the Knicks announced Walsh had been hired to rebuild the franchise. The former Indiana Pacers executive hired Knicks coach Isiah Thomas to coach the Pacers in 2000.

"I think we've been together under pressure situations before and he knows what kind of coach I am," said Thomas of his relationship with Walsh. "We've had success together before at Indiana, so I don't feel I have to prove anything coaching-wise."

Knicks reserve forward Malik Rose thinks the hiring of Walsh can help settle down the franchise.

"I don't know much about Mr. Walsh, but if they hired him, I think he's fully capable of doing good things," Rose said. "I don't think they would have hired someone who they didn't feel was capable of getting the job done. "We are who we are right now, and have seven games to try and make as much of a plus out of the rest of the season as possible."

But Walsh's hiring hardly seemed to inspire New York on the court Wednesday. The Knicks allowed Memphis to score a season-high 130 points and shoot a season-best 60 percent from the field (48-of-80).

Memphis connected on 14 of its first 17 shot attempts in the first quarter to lead by as many as 17 points in the first period.

"We got off to a good start and I thought that was the key to our confidence," Grizzlies coach Marc Iavaroni said. "Obviously we had some starters who were very proficient. Specifically, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley had a very good night statistically. They played with a lot of confidence."

The Grizzlies' stretched their lead to 20 points late in the second quarter, when Mike Conley nailed a 3-pointer from the right side to make it, 66-46, with 2:47 left in the half. Memphis' 74 first-half points tied the franchise record for points scored in a first half and tied its season-high for points scored in a half.

Gay added 21 points and rookie Conley had 18 on 8-of-10 shooting for Memphis.

"Conley is coming off pick-and-rolls like he's been knocking them down all his life," Iavaroni said. "Rudy Gay is making shots like that and playing with a real presence. You start to think, 'We are going to get some luck here tonight,' and it was good to see."

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