NEW YORK (AP) — Toney Douglas lined up those loud green sneakers behind the arc one last time and let it fly.
When the ball went through, the New York Knicks had to rewrite their record book.
Douglas tied a franchise record by making nine of the Knicks’ franchise-record 20 3-pointers, scoring 29 points in a 120-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night that snapped a three-game losing streak.
“Once I started hitting, I felt like there was no defense out there,” Douglas said. “No matter if a man was on me, anything I threw up was going in.”
Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points and Chauncey Billups added 18 for the Knicks, who were 20 of 36 (55.6 percent) from behind the arc and moved back ahead of Philadelphia into sole possession of sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks wore green uniforms for St. Patrick’s Day, but Douglas’ sneakers were the wrong shade of green — sort of like the Hulk. Everything else was nearly perfect, and his ninth 3-pointer, with 17 seconds left, gave the team a record total and allowed him to match Latrell Sprewell and John Starks on the individual game list.
“I love that color. I had two days of practice in them and everybody was like, ‘Wow, those are really loud shoes,”‘ Douglas said. “They’re special shoes now.”
Mike Conley scored 16 points for the Grizzlies, whose lead was sliced to one game over Utah for the final playoff spot in the West.
“They shoot the ball very well against us,” Memphis forward Zach Randolph said. “It was one of them games, a disappointing game. We came out and played and didn’t stick to our game plan (and) didn’t stick to the identity of our team the way we play and they blew us out.”
Amare Stoudemire scored 16 for the Knicks, who shot 52 percent overall and were 18 of 21 at the free-throw line.
New York had dropped three straight since Anthony’s jumper with 0.5 seconds left in a 110-108 victory at Memphis on March 9, allowing an alarming 117.3 points per game during the skid, which included a home-and-home sweep by a sub.-500 Indiana team.
The defense was better, but the story was the record-breaking perimeter game.
The Knicks turned an eight-point halftime lead into a blowout by hitting seven 3-pointers in the third quarter. Billups hit two early in the period and scored 12 points, while Douglas closed the quarter with two in the final 34 seconds as New York build a 92-74 lead.
Their previous record of 19 3s also came against the Grizzlies on Nov. 12, 2008.
“They beat us with 3s last game. They beat us tonight with 3s,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “I just told our team that if that if they shoot 3s like that every night, they’d be tough to beat. Obviously they don’t because they got smashed by Indiana and beat by Indiana because they didn’t make 3s. But you win, you live by the jumper, you die by the jumper. We struggled to guard them on the 3-point line and we struggled to score consistently.”
It was a sorely needed win for a Knicks team that has been inconsistent while Denver has rolled since their blockbuster trade involving Anthony last month. The Knicks are now only 7-6 since, even though the struggles ultimately have meant nothing to their playoff hopes.
The Knicks are still in sixth, just as they were when the deal went down, and haven’t been lower than that since they were seventh through games of Dec. 2, according to STATS, LLC.
Yet that’s done nothing to relax a fan base with bulked-up expectations since acquiring a second star to pair with Stoudemire. Coach Mike D’Antoni joked the fans that are panicking should “take some Prozac or something.”
“Hang in there, we’re hanging in there, we’re pedaling as fast as we can pedal,” he said before the game.
“The biggest thing, and I’ll just keep repeating,” he added, “is that we’re not going to get caught up in the hysteria and we’re going to be who we are, we’re going to play as well as we can and get it together and hang in as a group and try to make the playoffs and then try to do as good as we can.”
No worries this time from the fans, who were too busy chanting Douglas’ name in the final minute.
Neither team led by more than four points in the first quarter, which ended in a 29-all tie. Douglas, who makes the Knicks so much more dangerous when his outside shot is falling, was 5 for 6 from behind the arc for 15 points in the second period as New York took a 59-51 halftime lead.
Douglas shot 1 of 12 in Sunday’s home loss to Indiana, but finished 10 of 14 in this one, 9 for 12 from 3-point range.
“When he plays as well as he did, we can be a dangerous team,” said Stoudemire, who told his teammates early there would be open shots for them after noticing their defense was geared up to stop him.
Darrell Arthur had 15 points, while Randolph and Tony Allen scored 14 for Memphis.
NOTES: The Knicks are 2-0 this season in their green uniforms, which they wore while beating Chicago on Christmas. … Memphis G Jason Williams had an MRI on his back that revealed no structural damage. He continues to be listed as out with lower back soreness. … Stoudemire, Anthony and Billups will be featured on a segment of NBA TV’s “True NBA” news magazine program next Monday night. The trio sat down with former Georgetown coach John Thompson for the interview.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)