NEW YORK -- 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.
"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."
"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.
- 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.