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Knicks 118, Grizzlies 104: Scenes from a potential fourth-quarter collapse averted by Randle and Rose

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Phew.

NBA: New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-21 New York Knicks will officially finish the season with a record above .500. They clinched this remarkable (for the recent-vintage Knicks, anyway) with a 118-104 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night. The Knicks have won their last three games, and 12 of their last 13.

New York lit Memphis aflame from beyond the three-point arc in the second quarter and survived the Elfrid Payton minutes in the third. A quick 8-0 run to end the third (after Elf sat, naturally) gave the Knicks a 17-point advantage heading into the fourth.

And they damn near coughed it all up. The Knicks’ offense devolved into a stagnant mess, and the Grizzlies hit enough threes to draw within five points with plenty of time remaining. The Knicks desperately needed a bucket, and who better to respond than their MVP, Julius Randle?

Julius had a rough shooting night, just 9-23 from the field, but the dude was straight cash from three, hitting 5-8.

From then on, the game was defined by the late-game brilliance of Derrick Rose and the complete meltdown of the Grizz. Rose, who scored 25 points on the night, reached deep into his bag of tricks for a pair of clutch buckets.

Meanwhile, Grizzlies PG Ja Morant and head coach Captain What’s-His-Name (I’m not looking that shit up at this time of night) were both ejected for complaining about something or other. RJ Barrett in particular seemed to savor Ja’s ejection.

I guess you can be called the third pick in a two-player draft only so many times before you start to hold a grudge. RJ finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a game-high plus-21, proving once again that living well is the best revenge.

Recap to come. Knicks keep winning.