MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Conley scored 31 points and the Memphis Grizzlies clinched the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference with a 101-88 victory over the short-handed New York Knicks on Friday night.
Conley was 12 of 17 from the field, including 7 of 11 from 3-point range, to lead six Grizzlies in double figures as Memphis snapped a three-game losing streak. The Grizzlies will face the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.
Wayne Selden scored a career-high 13 points and Vince Carter added 12, including a trio of 3-pointers as the Grizzlies pulled away with a 16-2 rally in the fourth quarter.
Courtney Lee led the Knicks with 16 points, while Maurice Ndour recorded a career-high 15. Justin Holiday finished with 12 points, and Willy Hernangomez had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Knicks, who played without Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, lost for the third time in the last four.
The Knicks were deep into their bench players for the game. Besides long-term problems like Derrick Rose’s season-ending knee surgery and Joakim Noah’s suspension, Anthony did not play since it was the second night of a back-to-back. And hopes of Porzingis returning were sidetracked when his sore lower back flared up.
The young Knicks were up to the challenge until the early stages of the fourth as a pair of early shot clock violations allowed Memphis to retake the lead.
A 16-2 run in the middle of the period, led by Carter’s trio of 3-pointers, extended the Memphis advantage to 96-80.
Memphis had a 12-point lead in the first half, but came out lackadaisical after intermission. Lazy passes and inattentive ball handling contributed to a handful of turnovers, allowing the Knicks to pull even at 66 in the third.
The Knicks carried a 72-70 lead into the final quarter.
While Memphis appeared to dominate the first half, especially with 21 points from Conley, the Grizzlies managed to hold only a 53-47 lead at the break.
Memphis was shooting 53 percent, but most of that came from Conley converting 8 of 11 shots in the half, including 5 of 7 from outside the arc. Ndour was already at 11 points for the Knicks, making all but two of his seven shots.
Knicks: The Knicks have lost their last six trips to the FedEx Forum. . Ndour’s previous career high this season was against Chicago on Tuesday.
Grizzlies: Ten of Conley’s 15 career 30-point performances have come this season. .. Conley is one of four players with at least 10,000 points, 4,000 assists and 1,000 steals in his career. LeBron James, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook are the others. … Selden’s previous career high was 11 points on March 17 against Houston.
Conley returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday’ loss to Oklahoma City recovering from a gash over his right eye. “The swelling has gone down a lot. His vision is obviously a lot better,” Memphis coach David Fizdale said. “.He wants to play in this game, so we’re going to turn him loose”
PORZINGIS NOT BACK, BECAUSE OF BACK
Porzingis missed his third game with a balky lower back. Porzingis made the trip, but couldn’t loosen up enough. “He wanted to play,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “.The long flight last night didn’t help it much, so it’s still (stiff).”
KNICKS: Host the Toronto Raptors on Sunday
GRIZZLIES: Memphis continues its season-ending homestand Sunday afternoon against the Detroit Pistons.
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