Saturday, December 21, 2013

Knicks Fall To Grizzlies Courtesy of Another Slow Start

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Memphis Grizzlies vs. New York Knicks

Post Game Recap

The poor play in weekend matinees continued for the Knicks Saturday as they fell to the Grizzlies 93-87. The Grizzlies, battling injuries and entered on a five-game losing streak, controlled the game from the start and thoroughly embarrassed the Knicks on their home court. Head coach Mike Woodson held the team to a curfew last night in a hotel room and the Knicks still came out with no effort. Too often during the game the Knicks looked listless and without any passion, not resembling a team that cares very much. It was too little too late for the Knicks as they didn’t get up until they fell down, trailing by as many as 19 points before putting together a late run. It was an embarrassing performance for a Knicks team that cannot afford any more letdowns with how poorly they started the season.

Player of the Game: JR Smith

Smith put together his best game of the season thus far. He scored 16 points on his best shooting performance of the year, going 6-12 overall (2-3 3pt, 2-2 FT). Smith was also asked to run the point guard position for the Knicks as Woodson decided against using a traditional point guard and Smith responded with delivering a team high seven assists. He also added four rebounds and an impressive four steals; he only turned the ball over twice as well. The Knicks desperately need Smith to start looking more like the reigning Sixth Man of the Year if they are to turn things around this season and today he looked more like it.


Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports
Carmelo Anthony had a very efficient scoring night and did everything he could once again to get the Knicks a victory. Anthony scored a game high 30 points, going 11-22 from the field (2-7 3pt, 6-7 FT) and a team high seven rebounds. He only had one assist on the afternoon though as many of the other Knicks struggled to knock down any shots. Anthony added two steals and two blocks as well. Anthony did not get much help in the starting lineup, as the remaining four starters combined for only 17 points total.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added some punch off the bench alongside Smith. Hardaway Jr. shot 7-13 from the field overall (2-7 3pt) as he brought a spark to the team when he was on the court. The loudest ovations on the night came in the first half when Hardaway was finishing in transition at the rim. The loudest was off a nice behind-the-back pass by Tour’e Murry that Hardaway Jr. finished with a thunderous dunk.

The Knicks kept the turnovers low once again, having only seven in the game and resulting in six points for the Grizzlies. The Knicks forced 19 turnovers for the Grizzlies and converted them into 23 points. Once again the massive turnover differential was the only reason the Knicks were able to keep themselves in the game.


Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports
Saying the Knicks were hammered on the glass tonight does not do justice to what the Grizzles did to them in the rebounding department. For the game the Grizzlies outrebounded the Knicks 56-29. That is not a typo; the Knicks were outrebounded in a game 56-29 in which they shot only 41.8 percent from the field in. Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos led the way in the paint for the Grizzlies, grabbing 24 rebounds combined. The starting five for the Grizzlies outrebounded the Knicks by themselves 36-29. Randolph also hurt the Knicks while playing offense, scoring 25 points seemingly at will against Tyson Chandler and the Knicks front line.

Every aspect of shooting the ball was horrendous for the Knicks Saturday afternoon. They struggled from the field overall, going 33-79 (41.8 percent) and 6-22 from the three point line (27.3). The three point shooting was even worse before the Knicks knocked down a couple at the end of the game. Where the Knicks really lost the game was the free throw line, where the Knicks shot 15-23 (65.2 percent). The free throw line can be pointed out as a direct spot where the Knicks lost the game as they lost by eight and missed eight free throws.

Iman Shumpert is hitting new lows. He found himself on the bench for virtually the entire second half as Hardaway Jr. took all his minutes down the stretch outside the waning moments when Shumpert was inserted for defensive purposes. Shumpert played only 18 minutes, shooting 1-7 from the field for two points (0-4 3 pt) and grabbing four rebounds. Shumpert has been in an awful rut since his great shooting performance against the Brooklyn Nets. In the nine games since Shumpert is 10-51; 4-9 came against the Orlando Magic, equaling 6-42 in the last eight games.

Andrea Bargnani was non-existent in the game tonight. He had no impact in his 22 minutes, shooting 1-5 from the field (0-1 3 pt, 1-2 FT), grabbing only two rebounds, one assist and one block. Bargnani has hit a cold streak with his shooting, which is unfortunate because Smith looks to finally be breaking out of his. If the Knicks were ever able to get Smith and Bargnani shooting the ball and playing well together the Knicks will have formidable scoring options behind Anthony.

How the Knicks continue to not show up for home games is embarrassing. The Knicks have already lost 10 home games this season, matching their season total from all of last year. Opponents are no longer intimidated about playing at Madison Square Garden as they come in here and play their best games. The Knicks need to protect their home court and make it an advantage like it was last season. Woodson is in a tough position as the Knicks are suffering through injuries but he has to do a better job of getting the guys going and using the players who are playing well. He needs to find lineup combinations that will work and stick with them as there are some games the Knicks just do not look ready to play.

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