Jae Crowder scored 10 points during a decisive run to open the second half Wednesday night, and the visiting Memphis Grizzlies climbed to .500 for the first time this season by beating the New York Knicks 127-106.
Dillon Brooks scored a game-high 27 points to lead seven players in double figures for the Grizzlies, who have gone 11-3 this month to reach .500 (24-24) for the first time since Dec. 31, 2018. With the surge, Memphis has moved into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Ja Morant (18 points, 10 assists) and Jonas Valanciunas (12 points, 13 rebounds) had double-doubles for the Grizzlies. Crowder contributed 18 points, Brandon Clarke scored 17 points off the bench, and fellow reserve Tyus Jones added 12 points. Starter Jaren Jackson Jr. (10 points) also got into double figures.
Marcus Morris Sr. scored 17 points while Julius Randle (16 points, 15 rebounds) and Elfrid Payton (15 points, 11 assists) each had double-doubles for the Knicks, who have the third-worst record in the NBA and lost for the 12th time in 15 games. Reserves Damyean Dotson and Mitchell Robinson scored 15 and 10 points, respectively.
A brawl nearly broke out with 48.1 seconds left when Crowder stole an inbounds pass by Randle intended for Payton, the latter of whom shoved Crowder as he went up for a 3-pointer. Payton was charged with a flagrant 2 and was ejected along with Crowder and Morris. Dotson and Valanciunas were also issued technical fouls.
The teams were tied 32-32 after the first quarter before trading runs — 16-6 for the Grizzlies and 12-2 for the Knicks — to open the second. Clarke’s layup with 2:04 left gave Memphis the lead for good at 52-50.
Crowder, Jackson, Morant, Valanciunas and Brooks combined for all of the Grizzlies’ points during the 26-11 run that started the third quarter. Crowder capped the sequence with a basket that gave Memphis its biggest lead at 85-63.
The Knicks got within 12 points several times later in the third and pulled within 96-86 on a pair of free throws by Wayne Ellington 40 seconds into the fourth. However, the Grizzlies never allowed the lead to fall back into single digits.
—Field Level Media