I want to start this recap by expressing how much I dislike the jerseys the Grizzlies wore tonight. The light blueish unis are by far their ugliest, and probably has a lot to do with the way they played early on.
The Knicks defeated the Grizzlies tonight 108-101 at The Garden. It is their sixth straight victory and the most impressive one of this winning streak so far. With the Heat loss this evening, the Knicks now have the longest active winning streak in the NBA.
Besides the first couple buckets of the game, the Knicks led this one wire to wire, but made it very interesting towards the end in the fourth quarter.
Memphis came into the game second in the Association in points allowed, but the Knicks did whatever they wanted in the first half. Excellent ball movement freed up the three-point shooters and they rarely missed. The Knickerbockers shot 61% from the field and had an offensive efficiency rating of 153.3 en route to putting up 69 (haha) first half points. Shumpert got the scoring going early with 10 early first quarter points. His jumper has looked better and better with each game and he has been shooting over 42% from behind the arc in March. He also made a nice play in transition, showing some of his explosiveness and trust in that knee.
The Knicks had a 28-point halftime lead and led by as much as 30 in the third quarter. It looked like it was all over, but because of bad defense and constant foul calls, the Grizzlies got clawed their way back into it, and had the lead cut down to as little as four late in the fourth.
Jason Kidd didn’t hit a shot all game until there was 1:15 left in the fourth quarter, when he nailed a three pointer and was fouled. It gave the Knicks the breathing room they needed, as some final minute free throws put the Grizz away for good.
As good as the Knicks were in the fast half, they were just as bad in the second half. They were outscored by 21 in the second half and played some swiss cheese defense to allow the Grizzlies back into it. Felton and Prigioni couldn’t keep Mike Conley Jr. out of the paint as he went for 26 points and got to the free throw line 14 times. Jerryd Bayless knocked in four three-pointers and had 24 points.
Despite the awful second half, the Knicks got a big win on their home floor against one of the better teams in the NBA. Here are some notes from the game:
- J.R Smith had another monster game dropping 35 points to go along with his team leading seven rebounds (Melo also had seven boards). In typical Smith fashion, he has been such a better player during this winning streak than he was two weeks ago. When he is attacking the rim and taking the open jumper only when it is there makes the Knicks offense that much better.
- Despite his light stat sheet, Kenyon Martin played another good game for the Knicks. Foul trouble took away a lot of his second half time, but Martin was active defensively early on, and did a good job on the Memphis bigs to keep Gasol and Randolph quiet. Carmelo’s defense on Gasol was also excellent, and the Grizzly tandem was only able to 16 points and nine rebounds.
- No surprise, the Knicks offensive is so much more explosive when Steve Novak is knocking down threes. He hit three tonight, and they all came when the Knicks were building their big first half lead. Novak hitting threes means that the Knicks are moving the ball and being extremely active away from the ball. Both are keys to the Knicks having an efficient offense.
- The Knicks got a huge win tonight, but they did dodge a bullet. The Grizzlies made this an interesting game in the fourth, and missed a bunch of layups/dunks and open threes that could have made this game even scarier than it was. Nonetheless, a great win against a great team.