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Grizzlies stop Knicks run, Lakers strut 'Showtime'

Published: 9:16PM Saturday November 17, 2012 Source: Reuters

The New York Knicks became the last team to taste defeat this season with a 95-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedExForum in Tennessee today.

One day after manufacturing a fourth-quarter comeback against San Antonio, the Knicks (6-1) were unable to repeat the feat, as Memphis centre Marc Gasol racked up 24 points and forward Zach Randolph added 20 and 15 rebounds, his eighth consecutive double-double.

The victory was the seventh straight for the Grizzlies (7-1) after an first-night loss - the best opening eight-game record in franchise history - and pushes their regular-season home winning streak to 15.

The Knicks trailed by just five points at halftime, but were outscored 31-18 in the third quarter to fall 18 behind and out of contention.

Carmelo Anthony top scored for the visitors with 20 points, but found himself in early foul trouble, which limited his production.

Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers gave their fans a taste of the "Showtime" basketball promised by new coach Mike D'Antoni with a rousing 114-102 home win over the Phoenix Suns.

Though D'Antoni was not courtside to take charge of his first game as he recovers from knee replacement surgery earlier this month, his players thrived with the up-tempo approach, as they posted their highest score of the season.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant scored a game-high 31 points, centre Dwight Howard contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Spanish forward Pau Gasol - Marc's older brother - also recorded a double-double, with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Metta World Peace poured in five-of-10 three pointers to finish with 22 points and Jordan Hill, off the bench, also reached double figures with 10.

Guard Goran Dragic led the way for the Suns with 22 points and forward Luis Scola weighed in with 18, but the visitors paid the price after being out-rebounded 48-38.

D'Antoni, appointed as Lakers coach on Monday after predecessor Mike Brown was fired three days earlier, watched the action from the team locker room.

In front of a sell-out crowd at the Staples Center, the Lakers made an encouraging start and a World Peace three-pointer on the buzzer gave them a 35-30 lead after a high-energy opening quarter.

The Lakers briefly moved 10 points clear midway through the second quarter, after Antawn Jamison poured in a three-pointer, but the Suns surged back to tie it at 50-50, before Los Angeles again pulled away to lead 62-57 at halftime.

Both teams continued to score freely and the Suns again drew level at 82-82 after a Dragic three-pointer, but Bryant ended the third quarter with six unanswered points to put the Lakers ahead 92-84.

There was no way back for the Suns after that, as Los Angeles maintained control to complete their third win in their last four games and improve their record this season to 4-5.

The Suns, who struggled defensively at home while losing 106-112 in overtime to the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, slipped to 4-6.

The Lakers are next in action on Monday, when they host the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center, where D'Antoni is expected to take charge of the team for his first game.