Conley returns, helps Grizzlies down Knicks

Mike Conley returned from a minor knee injury and scored 25 points Sunday afternoon as the Memphis Grizzlies dominated the second half of a 96-84 victory over the New York Knicks, whose home losing streak reached a team-record 14 games.

Conley sat out Friday’s loss in Charlotte with left knee soreness and was questionable for Sunday but returned and helped Memphis win for the third time in their last 20 games since Dec. 26. The veteran guard recorded his 12th game with at least 25 points, shot 9 of 17 and also totaled eight rebounds and seven assists.

Marc Gasol added 24 points and nine rebounds as Memphis outscored New York 54-43 in the second half. Justin Holiday contributed 19, and rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. chipped in 16 as Memphis shot 50 percent after halftime and 40.7 percent overall.

The Knicks also saw their overall losing streak reach 13 games and fell to 2-26 in their last 28 games since their last home win on Dec. 1 over the Milwaukee Bucks.

New York played its second game since trading Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas on Thursday. During the first quarter, team president Steve Mills told MSG network there were eight trade scenarios involving Porzingis.

Rookie Kevin Knox led the Knicks with 17 points and Mario Hezonja added 14. All three players obtained for Porzingis made their debuts, as DeAndre Jordan finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, Dennis Smith Jr. had eight points and six assists, and Wesley Matthews finished with five points.

The Knicks committed six turnovers in the first quarter but took a 22-19 lead on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Hezonja. New York built a 33-25 lead on Smith’s second layup of the game with 6:57 left before halftime, but Memphis outscored the Knicks 17-8 the rest of the way and took a 42-41 lead into the break.

Memphis opened the third with a 15-3 run, took a 57-44 lead on a 3-pointer by Conley with seven minutes left and took a 74-62 lead into the fourth. Conley’s 15-footer extended the lead to 86-71 with about 6 1/2 minutes left, but the Knicks were within 88-80 on a 3-pointer by Matthews with 3:50 remaining.

After Matthews’ 3-pointer, Gasol hit a 16-footer with 3:22 left, and following two missed 3-pointers by New York, Gasol passed out of a double team for a layup by Shelvin Mack to effectively seal it with 2:15 to go.

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