Last season the Knicks finished 2-0 against Memphis including a 110-108 thriller in which Melo hit a game winner. The Knicks, winners of 4 straight, look to continue their hot streak against the Zack Randolph-less Memphis Grizziles tonight.
Here are some things to watch for tonight:
- Stoudemire vs Marreese Speights. With injuries to Zach Randoph and Darrell Arthur, the next man up for the Grizzlies is newly acquired Marreese Speights. Stoudemire should destroy Speights tonight. There’s no other way to say it. If Stoudemire can dominate tonight and take some of the pressure off Melo, I think the Knick offense will be much more productive than last night. Last night, Anthony had a 43% usage rate while Stoudemire was at 25% I think if those usage rates can even out a bit more, the Knicks will be more successful offensively.
- Can Shump go 5-0? Iman Shumpert is 4-0 since replacing Toney Douglas as the Knicks starting point guard. The rookie has brought lots of energy on both sides of the ball and I look for him to continue that trend tonight. The Grizzlies, who have struggled offensively this year, can be had at point guard. The combination of Mike Conley, Jeremy Pargo and Josh Selby should not pose any offensive problems for Shumpert and I expect him to shine again tonight.
- D’Antoni should clear bench tonight. The bench has been very thin the past few games and I think this is a game where D’Antoni would be wise to play more players. Looking to Saturday, the Knicks play a very good Oklahoma City team in Oklahoma City. I know Memphis is a good team but they still have a 3-5 record. I believe the Knicks can defeat them even if the bench has to play decent minutes. I think having Melo, Amar’e and Chandler all playing more than 35 minutes tonight would be a mistake.
- De-fense! De-fense! De-fense! The Knicks are currently ranked 7th in defensive efficiency and seem to be improving by the game. The Grizzlies are definitely a team that the Knicks should handle defensively and I look for them to continue that trend tonight.