Written by William Lee
Memphis entered Saturday matinee game against New York on a five game losing streak. New York though plays terrible on matinee games, 0-2 this season in early afternoon games, losing by a combined 72 points! With rumors that Knicks’ players were out partying the nights before those early afternoon games, Mike Woodson played babysitter Friday night, keeping his Knicks team in a hotel. The curfew didn’t help the Knicks, as Memphis got off to a fast start, jumping out to an 8-2 lead, extending this to 17-8 by the 4:24 mark in the first quarter. The Knicks went on a 10-2 run, cutting the deficit to one, 19-18 with a little over two minutes remaining. Carmelo Anthony was in double figures scoring in the first quarter alone, finishing the game with 30 points overall.
New York would go on an 8-0 run bridging from the first quarter to the second quarter. The run was capped off by a Carmelo Anthony steal that lead to a Tim Hardaway Jr. furious fast break dunk, to take a 28-25 lead with 9:16 left in the quarter. Hardaway Jr. provided a spark off the bench, playing 30 minutes scoring 16 points, he was favored over the struggling starting guard Iman Shumpert. The Grizzles played great defense to end the first half, New York converted on only one field goal in the last six minute of the second quarter. The defense led to an 8-2 Grizzles run, to end the first half with a ten point lead 50-40. Madison Square Garden was not happy with the Knicks’ matinee effort, booing the Knicks off the court as the players entered the locker room for intermission. The game was played at Memphis’ pace, a slow grind it out game, the Grizzles beat the Knicks on all the hustle stats in the first half. This trend would continue for Memphis in the second half, helping the Grizzles to a 95-87 victory, to snap their losing streak.
Former Knick Zach Randolph dominated in the third quarter, scoring 10 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in the quarter. Randolph finished the game with 25 points and 15 rebounds, destroying the Knicks on the glass and in the paint. The third quarter see-sawed back and forth, with the net result Memphis adding one point to their halftime lead. More boos were casted on the Knicks for their lackluster effort, when the Grizzles took a 72-58 lead. It was subdued temporarily when Tim Hardaway Jr. made a three to cut into the deficit to end the third quarter, Grizzles leading by 72-61. And Carmelo Anthony blocked a potential buzzer beating layup as Jon Leuer drove to the rim with time expiring.
Jerryd Bayless led the Grizzles on a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter, scoring seven points to push Memphis lead up to 81-63 with 8:14 remaining in the game. With the Bayless easily penetrating into the paint and scoring, the hometown fans again booed to let the Knicks know that the poor afternoon efforts are not acceptable. On the next possession more boos came down when Kosta Koufos got a wide open dunk, the boos grew louder and louder as Koufos continued scoring around the rim on the next couple Grizzles’ possessions. Memphis held a 91-78 lead with 3:02 left in the game, the Knicks made a run to make the game interesting, behind back to back threes from JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony, going on an 8-0, to cut the deficit to five points with a minute remaining in the game. With the clock the Grizzles’ friend Chandler was fouled with 25.6 seconds left in the game, and the potential to make it a one possession game, split the free throws. New York then had to play the fouling game, and Bayless put the game away at the free throw.
The Grizzles completely outhustled the Knicks Saturday afternoon, destroying the Knicks in rebounds 56 to 29, with 13 of them being on the offensive glass, which led to 19 second chance Grizzles points. The Grizzlies had their way with the Knicks in the paint, more than doubling up on the Knicks in points in the paint 60 to 28. The Knicks on the other hand settled for threes, missing 16 attempts from beyond the arc. JR Smith was the one bright spot for the Knicks, as he may be coming out of his season long slump, scoring 16 points, handing out 7 assist, and getting into passing lanes for four steals. The bad news…and this is a reoccurring theme for New York, Carmelo Anthony is not getting enough help from his supporting cast. Anthony scored 30 out of the 47 points from the starting line-up. The rest of the starting line-up only made six field goals for the game, on 24% shooting.