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Curry puts up 26 and 15 as Knicks get rare home win

NEW YORK (AP) -- The shot was so ugly, all Quentin Richardson
could do was laugh.

But the shot, a turnaround, fallaway off the wrong foot as the
shot clock expired, went in -- and the Knicks really needed
something to go right at Madison Square Garden.

Eddy Curry scored 26 points and the Knicks beat the Memphis
Grizzlies 98-90 Monday night for just their second home victory of
the season.

"It's great to get this win. We needed a win right now,"
forward David Lee said. "We're not satisfied at all right now. We
need to come back right now and win against Washington on Wednesday
and then continue this streak and put together a streak at home."

The Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak at the Garden,
where they are 2-7. Coach Isiah Thomas said his team's home woes
were mental, with players worried too much about boos from the home
fans.

But the Knicks need to win at home now, or their season will get
away from them. Monday's game was the second in a stretch where New
York plays a season-high six straight -- mostly against weak
competition -- and 10 of 11 at the Garden. Another small crowd,
announced at 15,233, had little to boo about in a game the Knicks
never trailed.

"If we're going to be serious playoff contenders, then we're
going to have to control our home court and we're going to have to
play better at home," Thomas said. "And if we can do that this
month, then we put ourselves in the race, and you're going down
January, February, March, now things are a lot different."

Lee added a season-high 20 points, teaming with Curry to wear
out the Grizzlies' frontcourt. Curry, who had his career-best
seventh straight game with 20 or more points, grabbed 15 rebounds
before fouling out, and the Knicks shot a season-best 56.3 percent
from the field.

"I kind of expect to go out there and have a nice game," Curry
said, "and expect to be a force out there and to help us win."

Richardson also had 20 points and Stephon Marbury finished with
16 points and six assists.

Hakim Warrick scored 19 points for the Grizzlies, who lost their
third straight. Memphis trailed by double digits for much of the
second half before closing within five in the closing minutes.
Richardson followed with his shot, laughing on the way back to the
bench after a timeout.

"Pure luck," he said. "That was the first thing I said. I
can't tell you what I really said, it was definitely luck."

Stromile Swift scored 14 points and Mike Miller had 13 points,
six rebounds and seven assists for the Grizzlies.

"Their frontline hit 66 points between their three starters up
front," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "The blow-bys were way
too many.

"Our defense is nonexistent right now. We don't stop any runs.
We need to spend a lot of time going back to our basic fundamentals
of how to guard the basketball and then go from there."

The Knicks finally got off to a good start at home, hitting
eight of their first 11 shots to open a 19-9 lead on Lee's jumper
with 4:45 left in the first quarter. New York led by 12 late in the
period before Lawrence Roberts and Warrick converted three-point
plays in the final 35 seconds to cut the lead to 25-19.

With Curry and Lee getting numerous easy chances right under the
basket, the Knicks shot 12-of-17 (71 percent) in the second
quarter. The lead grew to 17 after Marbury scored five straight
points, but Memphis clawed back and cut it to 55-46 at halftime
after Miller and Chucky Atkins knocked down late 3-pointers.

"Any time Eddy's being that aggressive in the paint and making
room like he was ... we try to run it into Eddy every single
time," Lee said. "When he's playing like that it makes everything
easier."

New York made its first three shots in the third quarter,
pushing the lead back to 15, and wasn't threatened again until
midway through the final period.

Game Notes
New York forward Jared Jeffries, out all season with a
broken left wrist, is closer to getting back on the court. The
Knicks said before the game that Jeffries is "progressing
excellently" and was cleared after an exam Monday to begin weight
training and contact drills Tuesday. The Knicks hope he can play in
seven to 10 days. ... New York hosts Washington on Wednesday night.
The Wizards are the only other team the Knicks have defeated at
home this season.