The New York Knicks came into FedExForum riding a four-game winning streak, set to play in front of a national stage. They left deflated and banged up.
All it took was forcing a couple of cold-shooting performances from Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire for the Grizzlies to handily defeat the weary Knicks, who were playing their second consecutive game in two nights.
After banging one of his fingers and later rolling his ankle, Anthony was sidelined in the third quarter for the rest of the night. By that time, the Knicks were already down so much that a loss was inevitable.
Shumpert honed his talents as an inconsistent playmaker. His worst game as a Knick, Shump shot 25 percent (5-20) from the field and consistently made poor decisions with the basketball, suggesting he might not be the answer at point after all. After the game though, Shumpert was quick to shoulder the blame via Twitter.
For the Grizzlies, Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo both set high season marks in points. Gay finished with 26, Mayo with 18. Both caused tremendous problems for the Knicks by halftime, making up easily for the absence of power forward Zach Randolph, out approximately eight weeks with a collateral ligament tear.
It seemed fairly easy for the Grizzlies to create offense through defense throughout the game. Memphis scored 19 points in transition as opposed to the Knicks’ 11. Additionally, the Grizzlies won the rebounding battle 48-41.
According to Jared Dubin of Hardwood Paroyxsm, the Knicks ran 17 isolation plays and failed miserably. Ball movement and rebounding are keys to success for the Knicks. There was none on Thursday.
For New York, what this game against Memphis will mean will be determined by the effort they put out during Saturday night’s matchup the Thunder. A win against 10-2 Oklahoma City would ease concerns, but a loss is certainly expected given the injuries and lack of cohesion.
For Memphis, it was important to get the ball rolling in the right direction with Z-Bo’s absence. Last season, they lost Gay for the playoffs and managed to pull an upset against the strong San Antonio Spurs. Memphis’ record is now 4-6, but they’re holding it together with defense and toughness.
New York appears badly in need of either intangible as it continues its search for a quality road win. Winning in Sacramento, D.C. and Detroit was nice, but those teams have a combined record of 7-25.