New York (17-24) hosts Memphis (11-30). New York won over Memphis in their previous meeting 132-103. In that game, New York hit 19 of 34 three point attempts (55.9%) and had an eFG% of 69.8. The only blemish in this game was New York allowing Memphis to post an eFG% 51.8. Absent New York’s hot shooting and huge advantage in three point makes (+14), New York could have lost this game.
|New York Knicks-Offense||97||105.8||49.4||15.6||23.9||20.6|
|New York Knicks-Defense||97||109.2||51.6||15.1||27.8||20|
What to watch for: Memphis’ response to the Marc Iavaroni firing. Strange, coaches usually get fired right afterplaying the Knicks (see Theus and Jordan). It will be interesting to see how the team, particularly such a young team, responds under a new coach on the road. In the game immediately following the firing of a head coach, teams have compiled a record of 3-3 this season. The 3 wins came over Minnesota, Golden State, and Milwaukee. The losses came against Utah and New Orleans. So what does all this mean? New York has to be careful in this game. Do not expect Memphis to come out flat. To the contrary, Memphis may come out strong looking to prove themselves. At any rate, New York still is not good enough to take any team lightly.
What to watch for 2: Efficient offense. Memphis is very poor defensive team much like Phoenix. New York should look to exploit Memphis’ poor defense in the same way the team did against Phoenix. Memphis lacks quality defensive bigs so New York should work the Lee/Duhon two man game just as they did against Phoenix. Check out Seven Seconds or Mess Episode 15 for more on how the Lee/Duhon two man game gave Phoenix fits.
What to watch for 3: Controlling the pace. Though Memphis is in the bottom third of the NBA in pace (89.9, 22nd), the team has a number of players who are well suited for a running game. Memphis has some good wing scoring in O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay. The team has a two points who can push the ball (Conley and Lowery) though neither is very efficient shooting the ball (46.0 and 44.0 eFG% respectively). Finally, the team lacks an effective post option. Yes, they have Gasol but he takes fewer than 10 FGAs per 36 minutes. Even if Gasol is efficient inside (51.8 eFG%, 56.6 TS%), Memphis does not give him the touches he needs to be a better weapon inside. The new coach may look to get Memphis running in order to play to their young athletic scorers. New York needs to be mindful of this and not get caught in a shooting match like they did in the loss to Washington. Hopefully, New York’s JJ, Chandler, and Q can provide the defense needed to slow Gay and Mayo.