After one of the most valiant comeback wins I’ve ever seen, if not, the most valiant comeback I’ve ever seen (there are a lot more valiant comebacks I’ve seen), and essentially mutilating my caps lock button on my keyboard, the Knicks snagged another win last night, this time from the Spurs, to keep their undefeated record put at 6-0. Tonight, the Knicks are in Memphis to face the roughhousing 6-1 Grizzlies, who are in first place in the Southwest Division. The Grizzlies have won 6 games in a row, two of them being consecutive wins over last year’s NBA Finals recipients, the Thunder and the Heat. Four of the six games the Grizzlies have won in a row were determined by 10+ point margins. Here is some stuff to watch for:
Matchups: One of the most intriguing matchups to look for tonight is gonna be Carmelo Anthony up against the walking double-double aka Zach Randolph. Randolph has notched a double-double in all 7 games the Grizzlies have played this season. Melo, who is coming off of a horrid shooting night, will be probably getting battered and bruised under the boards, but Melo will hopefully, and I think he will, mesmerize Randolph with his shooting abilities tonight creating space on his isos because it’s very unlikely that Randolph knows how to play defense when it’s not paint defense. Melo should take some precautionary measures, though, if he’s gonna attack the rim because the Grizzlies are the definition of hard in the paint (no Waka Flocka Flame reference intended). Tony Allen is probably gonna be scrambling all over the floor due to the Knicks having an abundant of shooters, but Allen will probably be defending a very efficient JR Smith for the majority of his minutes. JR should brace himself, primarily on the perimeter because Allen’s lockdown perimeter defensive prowess is, well, you know, unstoppable, giving no one little to no breathing room for shot creation. Ronnie Brewer is going up against premier scorer Rudy Gay. Brewer has Tony Allen’s perimeter defensive characteristics, and that will probably be a huge factor in determining Gay’s scoring from beyond the arc. Tyson Chandler going up against Marc Gasol will be a defensive marquee matchup. Raymond Felton will be going up against point guard sleeper, Mike Conley. As long as Felton attacks the rim aggressively like he has been all season, then Felton will have a great night.
CRASH THE BOARDS, Although, That Might Be Difficult: The Knicks have been playing outstanding defense so far this season, but despite the great defense, the Knicks are last in the league in rebounds per game and the second worst in rebounds allowed per game. As it says in the bullet title, it may be very difficult to grab rebounds against a team that has a league leading rebounder in Zach Randolph and a superb rebounder in Marc Gasol. Carmelo Anthony is the Knicks leading rebounder with an 8.2 RPG average, which makes me a little worried, but hopefully Tyson Chandler rejuvenates tonight under the glass.
Bench: Hopefully Steve Novak can bounce back from his previous ghastly shooting night. Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas should be getting some significant minutes because the starters were definitely flushed from last night. Containing Wayne Ellington and Jerryd Bayless on the perimeter is imperative. Bayless’ has shot.556 from three so far this season, while Ellington has shot .458 from three. Get cracking on the perimeter, second unit. And I forgot, I HAVE THE NEED FOR SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED.
Lastly, on a side note, if Hamed Haddadi gets any kind of minutes, preferably garbage time minutes, I will go bonkers.