Memphis pulled away late in the first half, closing on an 18-7 run that gave the Grizzlies a 10-point lead at the break. They blew it open in the third quarter after Atlanta missed its first seven shots and turned it over three times.
The Hawks were coming off a 4-1 road trip that left them tied with Miami for the Southeast Division lead. But they looked exhausted in their return to Philips Arena, putting up ugly jumpers, playing pedestrian defense and struggling just to hang on to the ball.
Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo scored 18 apiece for Memphis, while Mike Conley had 15. Marc Gasol turned in a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Dante Cunningham chipped in with 10 rebounds off the bench.
Josh Smith led the Hawks with 11 points, playing only 19 minutes.
BULLS 105, KNICKS 102
In New York, Derrick Rose scored 32 points to outduel fellow All-Star starter Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks.
Rose had 15 in the fourth quarter and repeatedly answered when the Knicks rallied. With Chicago leading 88-83 midway through the final period, the reigning MVP scored on three consecutive possessions. He split Anthony and Amare Stoudemire to flip in a shot from past the backboard, then hit a 3-pointer to put the Bulls up 95-88.
Stoudemire had 34 points and 11 rebounds but missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game with 10 seconds left. New York has lost 10 of 12 and now heads into its first back-to-back-to-back since 1999 with coach Mike D’Antoni facing more questions about his job security.
SPURS 93, HORNETS 83
In San Antonio, Tim Duncan scored 19 points, Tony Parker had 18 and the Spurs won their third in a row.
A night after Duncan scored 25 in a win over Houston, it was somewhat surprising that he even played. Coach Gregg Popovich has vowed to limit the 35-year-old’s minutes and playing the West’s worst team seemed to invite a night off.
But the Hornets didn’t make it easy. Carly Landry scored 17 points and Greivis Vasquez added 16 points staring in place of Jarrett Jack, keeping New Orleans close before the Spurs took control in the fourth.