Good thing all the New York Knicks' moves are for the future. Because if they were about the present, all of them backfired Saturday night.
Randolph had 31 points and a career-high 25 rebounds against his former team, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Knicks 120-109 to tie a franchise record with their fourth straight road victory.
"Feels good," Randolph said. "In the Garden, come back, get a win, play good against your old team."
"I just thought we got wore down by their strength and their height and their weight, and we paid for it a little bit," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said.
Randolph made the tiebreaking free throws with 3:45 remaining, starting a decisive spurt in which he seized control of the game with his scoring and rebounding. His basket with a minute left essentially put it away at 116-107.
Randolph could have been the inside presence the Knicks lack, but they traded him and Jamal Crawford on the same day early last season, moves that jump-started New York's plan to free salary cap space for this summer's free agency class.
The Knicks started 6-3 that season, and Randolph said before the game he believed a lineup with he, Crawford and Lee would be tough, especially in the Eastern Conference. He also said he thinks New York has a shot to land LeBron James, which would make the trades worthwhile, even though the Knicks have struggled since.
New York picked up McGrady last week in another move that was salary driven, and he is still playing his way back into shape after microfracture knee surgery last February. He went 25 minutes Friday night in a win at Washington, and D'Antoni said before the game he hoped McGrady could go that long again, but would leave it up to the player.
Instead, McGrady didn't play in the second half, going scoreless and missing all three shots. He said the knee was nothing to worry about, just that he realized early on it wasn't going to be his night.
"I just don't want to have any setbacks," McGrady said.
Memphis last won four straight road games in January 2005, and the timing of this streak couldn't be better, because the Grizzlies suddenly can't win at home. They have dropped six straight in their own building after reeling off a franchise-record 11 straight home wins in December and January.
"First we had the problem that we were winning at home and we couldn't win away from the FedEx," Gasol said. "Now we have the opposite problem, so we'll see how it goes."
Gay scored 10 points in the first 3 minutes of the fourth, and the Grizzlies opened an eight-point lead midway through the period. New York ran off eight straight to tie it at 107 on Danilo Gallinari's 3-pointer with 4:04 to play.
That's when Randolph took over, preventing the Grizzlies (30-29) from falling below .500 for the first time since they were 15-16 to end 2009.
"That's how scary we can be, anybody can take over at any point in time," Gay said.
Memphis scored the first six points and twice led by 14 in the first quarter, the second time when Randolph's tip made it 23-9 with 4:20 remaining in the period. Randolph had 12 rebounds in the first 12 minutes, helping Memphis open a 31-23 lead.
Harrington replaced McGrady in the lineup to start the second half and scored 14 points in the third quarter. The Knick scored the final seven points to take an 88-85 edge to the fourth.
- Asked before the game his strategy on whether to foul when up by three points in the closing seconds, D'Antoni said, "Everybody who's never lost a game says foul. Well, it's not that easy." The Knicks have been forced to overtime twice in the last week after a tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds of regulation. D'Antoni said he believes in giving his players the option to foul, but did say he'd foul every time when the clock gets below five seconds.
- The Knicks are 2-12 in the second game when playing back-to-back nights.