NEW YORK — Toney Douglas tied a franchise record by making nine of the New York 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.
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.
Wearing green uniforms for St. Patrick’s Day, the Knicks looked much better than they did during their slide. Douglas’ sneakers were the wrong shade of green — sort of like the Hulk — but everything else was perfect. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.