Knicks Grizzlies Recap: Grizzlies 105 Knicks 95
It was a vintage 'Melo performance tonight. Isolations, Arguments with Refs, Overmatched Defensively
With their second game of a back to back, you might have expected the Knicks to come out flat, but that did not happen. Though they fell behind early, energy and intensity was not the problem. The Grizzlies’ frontcourt was the problem. Bodying up against Gasol and Randolph, Carmelo was outmatched on defense and in foul trouble throughout much of the game. Even Chandler, a guy who has been nothing short of remarkable in blue and orange and a man’s man on defense, was abused by Zach Randolph under the basket as Z-Bo went into halftime with a double-double and finished with 20 points and 15 boards (8 offensive).
The Knicks actually played well enough to stay close in the first half, actually taking the lead midway through the second quarter on a misdirection play out of a timeout leading to a Novak three. Rasheed Wallace continued his fountain of youth tour spearheading the Knicks offense with some old man post up moves in the second. And active hands on the defensive end (specifically Brewer, Kidd and Wallace) gave the Knicks the extra possessions they needed to make up for the second chance points they were giving up. The Knicks were looking at a two point deficit going into the half when a broken play and a lack of focus on the Knicks’ part led to a Mike Conley three making the score 54-49 at intermission. Though the first half had been somewhat of a struggle, Knicks fans felt good about the score. They did not know that the lack of focus would carry into the third.
The wheels came off in the third. A 19-1 Grizzlies run, helped in large part by consecutive technical fouls on Carmelo, Wallace and Woodson followed by an “and 1″ flagrant on Earl Smith, put the Knicks in too much of a hole. The Knicks fought back in the fourth, but like elite teams always do the Griz offense executed when they needed to, finding Gasol in the post and moving the ball on the perimeter to an open Wayne Ellington for some key buckets. The Grizzlies are well-coached and well-constructed and played this, their eighth game of the season with the kind of team trust and familiarity that doesn’t usually develop with a team until much later in the year. They could be the team to beat in the West.
The Knicks get back at it at noon on Sunday against Indiana. Time for the bullets:
At the end of the day the third quarter debacle cost the Knicks their seventh straight win. I’m not too concerned with the team having a bad quarter because, well, that is going to happen from time to time. I am a little surprised about how quickly things spiraled out of control for a team we have been lauding on this site for being so trustworthy and mature. The Knicks simply lost their poise. And the things they have been doing so well over the last few weeks, ball-movement, taking care of the ball, and shot selection went right out the window as soon as the team’s “leaders” became wrapped up in the calls being made by the referees.
Hubie Brown, our color commentator for the evening, absolutely lost his mind during a play in which J.R. Smith flailed his body erratically and elbowed Jerryd “swim cap” Bayless in the chest after the whistle. Bayless responded by shoving Smith in the neck. Double technicals were levied. No one was ejected. But I swear if you didn’t have the benefit of the replay and you only had Brown’s oral history of the incident, you would have thought Smith stabbed Bayless in the eye. Methinks Brown does not like J.R. too much.
Speaking of Bayless, going with bic’ed Jordan style bald head was a solid move. Bayless had the most receding of receding hairlines but his contract isn’t quite Lebron James money so he probably couldn’t afford Bron Bron’s plugs.
The best part about being the fifth member of the Knicks Bricks fab five (I guess I’m Ray Jackson or Jimmy King) is the Knicks Bricks e-mails during the work day and the discussion of upcoming games, picks, and news around the league. On Thursday, after the Randolph/Perkins beef from the Griz-Thunder game the night before, e-mails with Z-Bo stories were making their way into my inbox. In short, we all decided that Z-Bo is not to be trifled with. Turns out Jalen Rose agrees.
A final thought on tonight’s game. It was not Woodson’s finest performance. He waited until 6 minutes remaining in the third to bring in Kurt Thomas cold off the bench when Chandler, Melo and Wallace all already had 5 fouls. Sticking with Melo on Gasol was a bit stubborn. Camby played not a minute in this one. Is he still not 100%?
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