Grizzlies 95, Knicks 87: Derailing the Holiday Inn Express

Editor’s Note: Two things to keep in mind when reading this recap:

1) The Knicks were forced to stay in a hotel last night.

2) All of this is fictional. As in these are not real quotes. As in relax.

Memphis Grizzlies 95 Final
Recap | Box Score
87 New York Knicks
Andrea Bargnani, PF

22 MIN | 1-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | +4

“It seems like that shot in Milwaukee – the one where you Steve Grogan’d the ball up two late in a close game despite a full shot clock – really got into your head. You were kind of floating in and out on offense and struggled mightily on defense. How do you get back to where you were earlier in the season?”

“I think for me, I need waffles in the morning. Hot waffles. And this hotel, their waffle machines – they didn’t work. Well, one of them worked, but Ray tried to lick the batter and it burned some of his tongue off and they had to get rid of the machine for health reasons. The other one Coach tried making coffee in so it was all messed up. So I didn’t have waffles.”

“Why didn’t you eat something else? To at least absorb some calories?”

“The pastries – they are made of wood.”

Carmelo Anthony, SF

42 MIN | 11-22 FG | 6-7 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 30 PTS | -2

“Another tough loss despite a strong overall performance from you. How frustrating is it to rattle off so many solid games, only to have you guys fall short?”

“It can’t be me all the time, you know? Like last night, we’re tryin’ to figure out a way to get out from the fourth floor window, cuz Coach Todd had gone around and barricaded all the doors with two-by-fours. So we had six of us locked in the room, and I’m the one stitchin’ all the sheets together to make the rope. Everyone else sittin’ there watchin’ Sinful Schoolgirls XIV or some shit.”

Tyson Chandler, C

33 MIN | 2-7 FG | 4-8 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -11

“Kind of a mixed bag after coming back from a broken leg: Your energy seemed to pick up as the game wore on, but you struggled to keep Randolph at bay and couldn’t seem to find the right spacing on offense. How hard has it been to try and re-figure out your teammates and what they need from you?”

“It’s been real hard, man – just sore as hell. Last night I decided to just take it easy and sit in the hot tub. Kind of loosen up the muscles, you know? But I get down there and Pablo’s dumping vegetables and meat and shit in there. Said he was makin’ soup, kind of a family meal thing for the team. And I love Pablo. Everyone loves Pablo. But I ain’t about to be in no soup.”

Beno Udrih, PG

31 MIN | 2-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 4 PTS | -16

“It seemed like you were struggling a bit to stay in front of the Memphis guards. At the other end, the team never found any semblance of an offensive rhythm. Can you talk a little bit about that?”

“Certainly this was not my bestest day. I did not get much sleep because Jim Todd was eating so much candy from the hotel. The packaging – it was quite loud. He just kept eating and eating. At least ten Baby Ruth. All I could see in the dark was his eyes. Just eating Baby Ruth in the dark.”

Iman Shumpert, SG

18 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -12

“With the exception of that one jump shot early in the third quarter, it looks like your shooting woes haven’t gone away. How are you looking to fix that in the coming days and months?”

“Lemme tell you somethin’: You’re ass’d be pretty tired too if you had to go fishin’ out Cole Aldrich cuz he decided to turn the vending machine into a pool raft. Dude never learned how to swim – said the closest thing growin’ up was crawlin’ around in the grass whenever it flooded. I had to fish him out myself. Shot my arms to shit.”

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF

17 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -4

“Coach limited your minutes tonight, which seemed like it made it hard for you to find any kind of groove. We saw he was yelling at you for some defensive miscues. Can you talk a bit about that?”

“I felt fine. Felt ready to go. Blessed. Phenomenal. We didn’t pull it out, but I thought we played phenomenal. Coach and I have been talking more. He invited me over to his room last night, after everyone else was asleep. Him and Todd were sitting on their own beds watching QVC. They were selling some knife set Todd was really excited about. But they both had their shirts off. They were wearin’ pants and everything, but… just sitting there drinking Coors with their shirts off. Watching QVC. So I took my shirt off and watched it with them. And I felt like we bonded, the coaches and me. I even bought the knives for Coach Todd. He was so happy. Pheonomenal knives.”

Toure’ Murry, SG

9 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -1

“With all the injuries going on, do you feel like you deserve an increased role on this team? You impacted the game in the first half – sparked a couple of beautiful transition dunks, including one gorgeous behind-the-back pass to a trailing Tim Hardaway – but weren’t in long enough in the second to really make a difference. How do you think you fit in on this team going forward?”

“Yeah, they made me drink all the free hotel soap, so I can’t see or hear anything or feel my face.”

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG

30 MIN | 7-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +1

“This was perhaps your strongest effort to date, at least on offense – your shot was falling, you were being aggressive but also under control. You seemed to fight through that second quarter ankle tweak. Would it be safe to say that you’re getting comfortable with asserting yourself more amongst this group of veterans?”

“I mean, you have to, you know? You have to show that you belong. That’s somethin’ my dad always taught me. That’s why I gave the guys my credit card last night — told them they could put the room service on there. I ain’t never heard of Crab Louie, but apparently I bought 30 of them. And a knife set or something from QVC. Not sure what that was. Then Kenyon got mad because he kept tryin’ to use my credit card to get back in his room, so he ate it. So I need a new credit card. But I think I belong now.”

J.R. Smith, SG

38 MIN | 6-12 FG | 2-2 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 16 PTS | +1

“A lot of people speculated that the biggest reason Coach had you board up at the hotel was because of your propensity for staying out late. Yet you managed to hit half your shots, get four steals, and finish with the second highest plus-minus on the team. Do you think the extra rest did you good?”

“I went to eleven different clubs in seven hours and paid a housekeeper to sleep under my covers during bed check.”

Mike Woodson

“How do you still have a job, exactly?”


Five Things We Saw

  1. The official time of the Winter Solstace was 12:11pm, or about five minutes before the Knicks tipped off. Appropriate that today’s disaster would fall on the shortest day of the year: 48 minutes of crippling, ceaseless dark that felt like it lasted a fucking eternity.
  2. Mike Woodson started big, promptly fell behind 15-8, went small, went on a 10-4 run, and spent the remainder of the game engaged in some kind of schizo three-way with the angel and the devil astride his shoulders. With Tyson still recovering and K-Mart on the lam, it’s inevitable that Bargnani and Stat will have to play some heavy minutes at the five-spot, often with the other on the floor. We just hope it soon won’t have to be so routine.
  3. Tangential to that point: The Grizzlies (56) very near doubled up the Knicks (29) in rebounding. Now, it’s easy to assume that, had the Knicks started or stayed smaller, that margin would’ve been far wider. But think about it: Dating back to last season, the Knicks have been at their best with three-ish guards and Melo at the four. Right? Right. Why are they good? Because they tend to generate a more effective, nicely spaced offense with more open looks and – presumably – more makes… i.e. fewer rebounds for the other time. Contrastingly, The Clusterfuck (that’s what we’re calling this lineup now) only begets less spacing, which begets fewer open looks and makes; which begets more rebounds for the other team. Obviously that’s only one-half of the rebounding problem – but it’s a big one.
  4. Zach Randolph bludgeoned the Knicks with a deft mix of soft perimeter touch and balls-out bully ball, exploiting Chandler’s rust and salvaging possessions from the oil-logged dumpster fire that is the Memphis offense. When your defense is this bad, it’s entirely conceivable that one player – and pretty much one player only – can single-handedly fell you. That’s pretty much what happened.
  5. Jokes abound about how this year’s brand of Bockers has scoured the depths of performance art ennui to compose the most jaw-dropping flights of defeat — real and near alike — many of us have ever seen. Today was different: Where the spectacular disasters of games past have pivoted on particular plays or moments, the Grizzlies instead compelled the Bockers to 48 minutes of arms-length futility. Save for the all-too-common mirage that was the final five-minute comeback. With the loss like we saw with the Wizards, the pain felt more acute, but also more localized; as if we were paying penance for a curse long since cast. Today was just throbbing numb.
Liked it? Take a second to support Jim Cavan on Patreon!

Jim Cavan

Beyond his KnickerBlogger roots, Jim's work has appeared at, Grantland, The Classical, and the New York Times. He is currently working on a biography of Robert Silverman, entitled "Clownin' and Astoundin.'" Follow him on Twitter @JPCavan.

52 thoughts to “Grizzlies 95, Knicks 87: Derailing the Holiday Inn Express”

  1. This team isn’t just garden variety bad, it’s laughingstock, jokey kind of bad. The only way to enjoy this team is with some sort of perverse schadenfreude. When they win I’m almost disappointed.

    They’re bad, and headed downhill, with no assets to speak of and two unprotected future first-round picks already out the door. And what is so maddening is that they could probably rebuild fairly quickly– they could flip Melo and Chandler for assets, tank the 2015 season for a lottery pick and be on the upswing in a few years– but they won’t. You can rest assured the people that run the team will do whatever is mathematically most likely to make the team as bad as possible for as long as possible.

    Fuck these guys. Knicks suck.

  2. Ha! Nice write up. I got a stern talking to from a Wizards fan and also a Laker fan and Bulls fan about that same sentiment to blow it up, tasty. Their line of thinkin was more like “are u crazy? Melo’s a beast!! Why would u..??”
    And that’s where I feel like the team may be in a catch 22. Melo is a star worthy of bulding around…but u have to build the right way. Like Philly did with AI. But with better shooters. Dr J said it best..he’s a bull in a china shop..this dude is born to get buckets. It’s been a very long time since we’ve had a talent like that on the team. But at the same time, the team has mortgaged it’s future on guys like Marbury, Curry, and Melo. We need our future back. And if u can’t get picks back in a Melo deal, get a really good youngin. But we’re wasting his talent and it doesn’t help that he’s not wired to affect the game in various ways to help the cause. If Melo is indeed serious about winning a chip in NY..he should feel the same way. By the way, didnt Kobe once say something similar about his position in LA? Anyway..the worst part of it is..this isn’t Melo’s fault. He is doin his part. Injuries and mismanagement are belying his mission this season. So…move him and get some value before he walks and we have nothing to show other than past ticket sales

  3. Remember on the outset of last season, when some posters were groaning about having a team that could “only” potentially win 45-50 wins for the next few years? Please, sign me up for that!

  4. Might not be safe to mention this, but did it hurt that Tyson Chandler had 3 defensive rebounds in 33 minutes and the player he guarded went for 25/15?

    Certainly Amar’e was horrible on Randolph, too, but that’s pitiful from your “best player.”

  5. Might not be safe to mention this, but did it hurt that Tyson Chandler had 3 defensive rebounds in 33 minutes and the player he guarded went for 25/15?

    Yeah, it’s a bitch playing basketball with a broken leg so you can save the job of your idiot coach.

  6. Things Chandler does really well consistently
    Set screens
    Offensive rebound
    Man defense (in post and off dribble)
    He’s among the top 10 in those areas at his position (obviously screens is currently subjective)

    Things Chandler does well but not consistently
    Elbow jumper
    Hedge screens
    Defensive rebound (ranked 25th, 37th, 12th, 49th the last few years in DRR)

    Things Chandler does poorly
    Contest shots at the rim
    Catch balls below his shoulders
    Any kind of self-generated offense.

  7. My defense of Chandler is more about the fact that he was guarding a PF, and one of the best offensively in the game. Hibbert, for example, would have a rough time guarding Z-Bo also, but he wouldn’t have to since they have West.

    Z-bo vs. Chandler is a mismatch, whether Chandler is healthy or not.

  8. JK, I think Chandler is a pretty tough guy/plays with passion, etc., but he was scheduled to return 4-6 weeks after the fracture, and he returned 6.5 weeks after the fracture.

    C’mon. I’m sure some of this is rust, but he’s not playing injured.

  9. The light at the end of the tunnel must be heading for a lottery pick in possibly the strongest draft in decades. To bad it will be for another team.

  10. The double standard you have with Chandler is amazing. You have an obvious vendetta against Chandler, probably because Chandler is a WP favorite and WP is so mean to poor Melo.

    Anyway, this team sucks with or without Tyson Chandler, so maybe you’re right and he’s not much of an impact player after all.

  11. d-mar, Chandler has the length, strength and lateral agility to slow down Randolph. We saw a few glimpses of it late.

    Tyson got his assed kicked today, totally outworked. Those who consider Chandler the team’s best player never seem to hold him to that standard when he has games like today.

    If Melo goes 6-26 with 4 turnovers, he gets a heap of shit (deservedly).

  12. “The double standard you have with Chandler is amazing.”

    Right, I criticize him when he plays poorly. He gets so much heat from national talk shows/NY media, this board, I know I’m totally piling on.

  13. Knicks had Randolph and traded him for Mobley and Thomas.. Jamaal Crawford too, that’s your sixth man, not JR.. Melo is like Paul Pierce of yore before he got transformed when KG and Allen joined Boston. Maybe with Rondo and Chandler could be the Knicks team. They need to get rid of Woodson, terrible head coach.. a man should know his limitations… this team would be lucky to get .500… clusterfuck alright

  14. I don’t think the Knicks win in Milwaukee without Chandler and they probably lose by 20 or 30 to Memphis without him. He is not as his peak, but I don’t think he is dragging the team down since his return. Chandler wasn’t finishing or hitting his foul shouts, but even the ineffective PnR was a better option than what Bargnani was doing out there (and I was optimistic about that move). Chandler got eaten up by Z-bo, but what sickened me was that we made Tony Allen look like the best guard in the building today.

  15. Oh, and Melo is really having a great stretch of games. 30 point on 22 shots with 7 boards and 0 turnovers a few days after a 55 minute game.

  16. “Don’t feed the troll.”

    Do I really need to list all the reasons the above comment is insane?

  17. am I the only one who is going to spend the night shirtless with a 12 pack of coors, ordering knives off of QVC? the last thing we need right now is knives

  18. This isn’t about whether Chandler sucks or Melo sucks, they don’t, it’s always been about our absolutely putrid guard play. Our starting backcourt was awful as usual (and I like Shump and all, but if he’s going to act like he doesn’t even want to play he really shouldn’t be on the court) and as someone pointed out, Tony Freaking Allen was the best guard in the game. Enough said.

  19. Chandler got out played, not due to injury, but likely because Woodson over-played him his first game back and his legs were probably tired. He’ll get better, but if you have ever been an athlete, you know the second game after a layoff is tough physically.

    But the problem is this team is listless, and horrible defensively.
    Bargs was +4 on the night, but generally an empty uniform.
    Shump is killing us, worst player out there.

    This is not a team. They are irrelevant. And they don’t really care very much.
    They played a team that is on its heels and cannot consistently score.
    I thought this could be a good team. I was wrong. I did not expect Woodson to be so befuddled.

  20. Yes, the Knicks guard play is the worst in the NBA, but when Jr, THJ and Melo go 24-47 for 62 points 8 assists and 3 turnovers, you have to beat a below average team at home.

    The Knicks were outrebounded by 27 and Z-Bo had one of his best games of the season. If you can’t criticize Chandler after a game like that, you can’t criticize Chandler.

  21. On lineups: “We don’t know. Because you never know what lineup we are going to have out there,” Anthony said. “We come in and it’s on the board that this is the lineup that is going to be out there and we have to adjust from there.”


    Pretty sure it’s about finding the right interim at this point.

  22. The criticism of Chandler, ru, is justified.
    He played poorly. My point was that I think he got overplayed. I have never played pro ball, but there is practice shape and then there is NBA shape. Chandler isn’t there and he played poorly.

    I agree with you on Woodson. Remember when D’Antoni couldn’t settle on a line up?

  23. Bargs is the real issue. He really does suck. He doesnt suck on an individual basis, he makes nice some moves on offense and has had some real good games offensively and even defensively. You could see his skill and talent level. But trading for him and force-feeding him into the lineup has completely destroyed the team’s identity. Bargs is as bad a rebounder as we feared and his help D is beyond awful (except for an occasional blocked shot here and there). Unfortunately that was Woodson’s plan all along to go “big” because he is an idiot.

  24. My family is watching “The Wizard of Oz” right now, and all I can think of is how Cavan could do a great song parody with Mike Woodson in the role of Scarecrow singing “If I Only Had a Brain”

  25. I haven’t been Abe to watch many games lately, But I read this blog and look at game stats. What’s weird to me is that I see posts that Shumpert should get a shot at point guard since Prigioni and Felton are hurt. But looking at the box score, JR should do this. He gets more assists and he’s a better ball handler. If he were in the back court with THJ I think that would work. JR did have something like six assists today and when I do get a chance to watch a game he seems to play smarter than his reputation, so what do you guys think of this?

  26. I haven’t been Abe to watch many games lately, But I read this blog and look at game stats. What’s weird to me is that I see posts that Shumpert should get a shot at point guard since Prigioni and Felton are hurt. But looking at the box score, JR should do this. He gets more assists and he’s a better ball handler. If he were in the back court with THJ I think that would work. JR did have something like six assists today and when I do get a chance to watch a game he seems to play smarter than his reputation, so what do you guys think of this?

    I agree. He’s been why we lose. Ditto Amar’e. I was wrong so here’s my pile of poo that I’m eating. You just can’t have no defense or rebounding from two of your main bigs. Also, our twos have been putrid with today being an outlier. Come to think of it our PG play has been bad too but, amazingly probably better than anything else except Melo, who’s been our only consistent force. Just a fatally flawed team.

    But the future is what makes me so depressed right now. We can’t even flip Melo for picks and prospects. We don’t control him beyond this season. We’re going to have literally nothing of value left from that trade if he bolts and that might be better than if we sign him! Fuck you Dolan.

  27. My family is watching “The Wizard of Oz” right now, and all I can think of is how Cavan could do a great song parody with Mike Woodson in the role of Scarecrow singing “If I Only Had a Brain”

    I would never play Bargnani
    I’d also bench Amar’e
    JR would get some blame
    I might even play Cole Aldrich
    And not simply make them all switch
    If I only had a brain

  28. The 37-win prediction is beginning to look a bit ‘rurulandian’…lol…

    The good news is Bozo the Coach is on his way out. It’s just a matter of time before Ronald McDolan – as clueless as he is – is informed that the playoffs are in jeopardy.

  29. The best course of action for the Knicks is to try to trade Melo for young talent plus one or two draft picks. If that fails, the team must be willing to offer a firm 3-year contract at 17 millions per. I know odds are such proposal would be rejected, but here is the thing:

    1. how many teams in the NBA would be in a position to offer Melo a max contract?

    2. Of those teams, how many would actually want to offer the max contract?

    3. How many of the teams able and willing would be desirable to melo?

    The final number – I suspect – is surprisingly small. As in ZERO.

  30. This team has talent. Melo is a top twelve player. Chandler is a great defensive player with limited offensive skills. There is nothing that JR Smith cannot do on a basketball court (and there is nothing that JR Smith will not do on a basketball court). Bargnani is a threat from the arc, mid-range and in the post and can play decent on-ball post defense. Pablo Prigioni distributes the ball well, is a marksman from the arc and gambles well on defense. Amar’e Stoudamire still has strong offensive moves. Ray Felton, when in shape, runs the PnR well and gets to the rim. Tim Hardaway Jr. Has raw offensive talent from range and filling the lane on the break. MWP and K-mart are strong defenders.

    This team has weaknesses. Melo can be a ball-stopper and an indifferent defender when discouraged. Chandler has next to no range and cannot create his own shots. Amar’e is injured and an even worse defender tha he used to be. Bargnani has horrible basketball instincts, is slow, and makes Amar’e look like Bill Russell on help defense. MWP and K-Mart are old, injured and offensively limited. Shumpert is a shell of himself. Felton is injured, out of shape, a poor shooter and a bad distributor. JR Smith makes countless bad decisions on the court and is hard to coach. Prigioni is slight of frame, old, refuses to attack the rim and too slow to stay in front of quick PGs. Hardaway is a rookie who makes rookie mistakes, especially on defense.

    This team needs a coach who knows how to harness the talents and mask the defects. Woodson appears not to even recognize the problems , let alone have a theory for how to handle them. He seems to believe that the things that brought success last year were flukes that should not be repeated. His team does not play hard.

    It is time for a new coach. Any new coach. A new broom to sweep clean.

  31. There are two possible scenarios that will happen with Melo:
    1. He will re-sign for the max
    2. He will walk and we get nothing in return

    Both bad scenarios, but those are the only two plausible scenarios I can envision.

  32. Woodson: “You look at the rebounding, and it’s 56-29. And that’s with our big lineup. That’s embarrassing.”


    (for the record, I’m laughing at Woodson’s take on it. Getting outrebounded that badly is more sad than funny.)

  33. I would never play Bargnani
    I’d also bench Amar’e
    JR would get some blame
    I might even play Cole Aldrich
    And not simply make them all switch
    If I only had a brain


  34. I would never play Bargnani
    I’d also bench Amar’e
    JR would get some blame
    I might even play Cole Aldrich
    And not simply make them all switch
    If I only had a brain

    Phenomenal even!

  35. If you want to spread the blame around for why this team is terrible, I would rank the offenders as follows:

    1. JR Smith – The worst player on the Knicks this year. Still in negative WS48 land after 600 minutes, and that doesn’t even really take into account his execrable defense. Has a .442 TS%.
    2. Ray Felton – Out of shape, ineffective and now injured. Has been godawful on both ends of the floor. Can’t shoot to save his life.
    3. Andrea Bargnani – Has not been an efficient scorer, can’t shoot the three and his defensive problems are legendary. Every bit as bad as his detractors had feared.
    4. Iman Shumpert – Game has vanished so completely, you have to wonder whether it was a mirage in the first place. Shows flashes on defense but overall has given the Knicks very little production.
    5. Amar’e Stoudemire – Sometimes it seems like he has a little bit of offensive game left, but a .547 TS% to go along with horrific defense and tepid rebounding is not a good way to invest $21.6M of salary cap space.

  36. I thought Felton was in great shape when he came in. Poor play and a bad hammy sure does add the lbs.

  37. It is really disgraceful when you think of the fact that Felton got fat again. I mean, what the fuck, dude? You know you have a problem with weight. You make a big point of taking the weight off because everyone mocked you for being so out of shape. And your play improved. So after one year you go right back to being fat and out of shape? What the fuck?

  38. As bad and as flawed as this team is, if you put any one of the following point guards on this team we’d be at least .500 or better right now:


    (I left out injured PG’s Rose and Rondo)

    It’s hard to overstate how bad our guard play has been this year, and how badly we get killed at that position game after game. It’s not Bargnani, it’s not Melo, it’s not Chandler, it’s getting beat up night after night by every other backcourt tandem in the NBA.

  39. It’s not like an in-shape Felton is some kind of world-beater either.

    Oh true, which is why it is even more disgraceful that he let himself go. The idea that he looked at last year and thought, “Yeah, I’m at the point where I don’t need to keep myself in shape” is insane.

  40. Bump those guards if they would have traded for Isaiah Thomas of Sac. they would have been good. Granted the issues on D would have been there but on O he would put pressure on most teams.

    Also, anyone have synergy number on the offense?

Comments are closed.