Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 20 points on 7-14 shooting but was in foul trouble for most of the night, being forced to sit out most of the third quarter when the Grizzlies went on a 19-1 run.
The teams combined for six technical fouls and 50+ fouls on the game as it was a physical and chippy game throughout.
The Knicks had a season high in turnovers tonight with 13 and shot only 5-19 from three which is a 26% shooting percentage.
Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 24 points on 6-10 shooting and 12-13 from the free throw line. Zach Randolph had 20 points and 15 rebounds, eight of which were offensive boards.
The Grizzlies have won 15 straight at home in the regular season and won seven in a row overall, not losing since opening night against the Clippers.
The loss ends the second longest winning streak to begin a season in Knicks history and the last time the Knicks were the last team to lose in the NBA was in the 1958-1959 season.
It was bound to happen eventually and losing to a Grizzlies team that had come in with six straight wins and played a physical and tough game is nothing to be ashamed of. We all would have taken 1-1 on this back to back a week ago and either way, the effort in the fourth quarter was exceptional. We can all hope that translate to the next game and throughout the season.
I think we can start with the fact that the third quarter, which may have been the longest one in terms of actual time in NBA History is where this game was lost for the Knicks. Sure, the Refs injected themselves into the game way too much and the Knicks lost their composure because of it. But you gotta give the Grizzlies Head Coach Lionel Hollins credit. He saw the Refs were calling almost everything and kept pounding the paint time and time again. The Knicks settled for and missed jump shots on the other end and the Grizzlies just kept taking advantage of the whistle happy refs. Yes, you can blame the Refs for this one if you want, I choose rather to give credit to the Grizzlies for taking advantage of it and wearing down the Knicks mentally and physically.
When you look at the box score, it will actually show the point differential came from the +10 at the FT Line for the Grizzlies. But I would also point out the Knicks were 5-19 from three and missed open three pointers that they had been hitting during the winning streak. Make four more and its a much different ball game.
The Grizzlies front line of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay were fantastic tonight, especially Gasol and Randolph. They combined for 44 points and 22 rebounds with nine of them on the offensive glass (eight from Randolph). We all knew coming into the game that the Knicks lack of rebounding could be magnified by the Grizzlies and it was when it came to the key moments of the game, especially in the fourth when the Knicks cut it to eight and the Grizzlies got a couple of second chance opportunities.
Raymond Felton continued his strong play on the offensive side of the ball with 18 points and five assists. But his effort, especially in the fourth quarter shows that last year’s disaster is very far in the past and he is playing with a determination and passion that is just great to see.
Carmelo Anthony guarding Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph was just not going to work and yet the Knicks kept trying to go that route and it was a weird decision from Mike Woodson. I have to think that Marcus Camby is hurt again because the fact that he didn’t play at all during this game didn’t make a lot of sense to me, especially when Chandler, Wallace and Anthony were in foul trouble as early as the 2nd quarter.
Rasheed Wallace was one of four Knicks (Smith, Anthony & Mike Woodson were the others) that got a Technical Foul. If you have November 16th in the Sheed Getting T’d Up Pool. Congratulations. In all seriousness, I thought Sheed played with a ton of intensity and grit on both sides of the ball, scoring 13 points and having a couple of nice blocks. Who says the pre-season is important?
At the end of the day, The Knicks split two games between the two best teams in the Western Conference record wise on the road and I know alot of people, including myself would have signed for that. The Knicks are coming off a loss for the first time the next game against Indiana, and it will be interesting to see how they handle that on Sunday.
Coming up next, the Knicks head back home to take on the Pacers at Madison Square Garden, Sunday Afternoon at 12 PM. The game will be on MSG.