2012 Game Preview – Knicks @ Grizzlies
After picking up a huge, although ugly win over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Knicks hit the road to challenge the struggling Memphis Grizzlies. With the shortened schedule, this will be the only matchup between the two this year. New York was victorious in both meetings last season. The Knicks are winners of four in a row, meanwhile the Grizzlies are on the other side of the spectrum, losers of three straight.
The Lowdown – The Knicks are the superior team in this contest. Especially with former Knick, Zach Randolph out 6-8 weeks with a slightly torn MCL. The Grizzlies are by no means an offensive juggernaut. Rudy Gay is their high scorer but only obtains a 44.8 TS%. With an offensive rating of 97.9, Memphis ranks near the basement in that category (27th). The Knicks have bombarded teams this season with surprisingly good defense, leading to a top ten placement in defensive rating (7th). With the continuation of sound defense, I see no alternative outcome but a Knicks victory.
Key Matchup – Carmelo Anthony vs. Rudy Gay – This is the key matchup based on the fact Big Z is not battling Amar’e. Carmelo has been a Rudy killer over his career, with a TS% of 56.9% and averaging 27.1 in fourteen games. Gay, who was missing in action for both games last season due to injury issues, is a solid scorer and can get his shot off easily. On defense, Rudy’s length will bother Anthony, but he lacks the strength to deal with ‘Melo on the interior. Gay can stop penetration and prevent open looks, but is an average post defender. He will need help down low handling, so perhaps ‘Melo can go a whole game without suffering from spontaneous tunnel vision.
X-Factor – Tyson Chandler – Marc Gasol creates a matchup problem since he is deceptively strong, and has soft touch from outside the painted area. Marc Gasol has the vertical leap of a potato, and will have a tough time keeping Chandler off the glass due to Tyson’s athleticism. However, Gasol’s versatility to set up outside of the key makes him a perfect candidate for the pick and roll. His knowledge of when to roll out or cut to the basket make him and Conley a strong duo. Chandler will have his hands full again tonight defending and communicating effectively. Another factor could simply be the intensity Chandler brings. Since the Knicks have a maddening tendency to play up and down to their competition. I look for Chandler to establish some ferocity early to get the teammates to play with more energy. Tonight’s game may be one the Knicks should win, but they will need effort to get it done.
Projected Starters (Grizzlies)
PG – Mike Conley
SG – Tony Allen
SF – Rudy Gay
PF – Marreese Speights
C – Marc Gasol
Projected Starters (Knicks)
PG – Iman Shumpert
SG – Landry Fields
SF – Carmelo Anthony
PF – Amar’e Stoudemire
C – Tyson Chandler
I'm a 22 year old student studying Sports Journalism at the New England School of Communications in Bangor, Maine. I'm a basketball addict and live for the game I love. I have an irrational love for 1% milk and Sandra Bullock. If you would like to contact me, you can e-mail me or follow me on twitter @Carmichael15