Quick Reaction: Grizz 94, Knicks 30… I mean 83
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 20 MIN | 6-11 FG | 1-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 14 PTS | -12
Once again, Melo got off to a hot start, hitting his first three shots and seeming to settle in for a long night of carrying a clearly lethargic Knick squad. Mid-way through the first quarter, however, Anthony tweaked his left wrist on an otherwise benign collision, all but squelching his ish. Early in the third, it was his right ankle that bent the wrong way. Fortunately, x-rays are negative, though it’s still unclear how quickly we can expect a mended Melo. Oh, and Rudy Gay made him his Big East $#%@.
|Amare Stoudemire, PF 20 MIN | 1-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 6 PTS | -12
For a player who relies and thrives on momentum and groove, grabbing two fouls in the first 90 seconds isn’t exactly the most effective way of achieving said groove. For the record, these fouls included one of the most hilariously slow-motion charges I’ve ever seen – Stat took the ball from about 18 feet on the right wing and, with defender Marc Gasol standing on the low block, barreled directly at the Spaniard, who had his back straight and arms raised for no less than two full seconds. Like the dead, things did not improve for Stat thereafter, who tallied arguably his worst outing in a Knick uniform. Tangentially, there’s a 50% chance Marc Gasol’s morning steamer will include bits of Amare’s soul. (Special thanks to the always amazing @netw3rk for that gem.)
|Tyson Chandler, C 30 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | -22
Painfully, Chandler finished with a team low +/- (a rancid -20) for the first the first time all year. Sure, eleven ‘bounds is great and all, but TC’s sporadic involvement on offense is something the Knick coaching staff has to be thinking about. No, you don’t have to run your offense through him like he’s some kind of Bill Walton incarnate, But nor should he be left to get his on tap-ins, put-backs, and right-place-right-time stuffs alone.
|Landry Fields, G 27 MIN | 3-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +9
The Stanford soph was yet again all but invisible in the first half – jelly-legged, indecisive, totally devoid of confidence. Naturally, at the tail end of the blowout — and with no star stopping the offensive flow — Fields looked much more comfortable and at ease. I know it was around this time last year when the Fields mystique began slowly evaporating, but that was two months into the season, not two-and-a-half weeks. This year, Landry’s stat line can best be compared to my approach to eating at a Chinese restaurant: Six or seven of everything, but only if I’m really hungry.
|Iman Shumpert, G 29 MIN | 5-20 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | -11
I don’t know if Shumper saw a spider on the rim during warm ups he somehow convinced himself he needed to kill by throwing a basketball at it or what, but 15 first half shots later, this is literally the most sensible explanation I could conjure for the much-beloved rook’s completely ridiculous chuckage. Shump’s omnipresent defensive effort aside, it’s safe to say the Point Shump honeymoon is over. If and when Baron Davis snags hold the reins, however, Iman’s trial by fire should bode well for what hopes to be a reinvigorated offense navigating its way back to first principles.
|Mike Bibby, PG 19 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 2 PTS | -14
For a guy who built much of his reputation on a smooth stroke from deep, most of Bibby’s distance hurls thus have been more devoid of arc than a Seinfeld episode. Still, he connected on a few nice dishes, and… his dad Henry is a Memphis assistant. Which is just $%#@!&* precious.
|Steve Novak, SF 11 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 5 PTS | +12
Give credit to Novak for putting aside his lack of recent burn, and hitting a couple shots with confidence. You can tell that — in spite of his quite glaring athletic limitations — Novak is thinking through the game on both ends of the floor, and always without over-thinking it. Which might sound like I’m advocating more court time for the veteran marksmen. Which I very much am. Which absolutely scares the shit out of me.
|Renaldo Balkman, PF 11 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -2
Oh, Humpty. After a solid week chewing on a reefer rawhide in the D’Antoni D’Oghouse, D’Antoni finally unleashed Balkman on an unsuspecting Memphis crowd. He attacked the tin a couple times, but by far his most Humptian moment came in challenging a 20-foot Dante Cunningham heave, falling into him without even the slightest inkling to avoid contact. Then, like someone who partakes in activities that effect shot-term memory, Balkman did the same thing again during fourth quarter garbage time. You gotta love this guy.
|Toney Douglas, PG 24 MIN | 3-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 8 PTS | -6
I’m tired of raggin’ on the kid. I truly hope he re-figures it out. Maybe Baron should take him to a hotdog stand or something.
|Bill Walker, SG 21 MIN | 5-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 14 PTS | +2
Don’t let the stats fool you. Almost all of this was put up when half the crowd left to go catch steamboats home. That said, Walker appears to be finding his stroke of late. At this point, it’s naive to think Walker will ever reach the potential he displayed during his halcyon days at Kansas State. But he’s still more than capable of being a reliable 7th or 8th man on a good team.
|Josh Harrellson, F 28 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | +1
Jorts picked up right where he left off the night previous, canning his first corner three after hitting the hardwood for the foul-plagued Stat. After that, Jorts was little more than a XXXL #55 just kind of floating in an aimless basketball ether. Until the game’s late moments, when — like Billy — Harrellson padded the numerals.
Five Things We Saw
- When Stat and Melo both pick up two fouls in the first quarter, that’s not a good thing. When one of those two follows that up by picking up two injuries – the second of which sends to the locker room – that’s an even less good thing. The Knick offense with Melo on the floor is effective at best, and an exercise in futile heroics at worst. With Melo in street garb? Hopefully we won’t have to find out. Though I fear a sudden, successful return to SSOL minus the ball-stopping Anthony would make for a meme capable of turning Twitter to vapor.
- Before the game got way out of hand and both benches were emptied, the Knicks were clowned on the glass. I would go more in depth here, but I have to go try and catch a moth hovering around my ceiling fan. Without jumping.
- We knew coming into the season we’d be witness to some butt-ugly ball. We just didn’t think we’d have to worry about sending our children and pets into another room, for fear of long-term psychological trauma. While the Grizzlies’ stifling D and infamous lane-hawking made them seem mirrors of last year’s Cinderalla squad, for most of the first three quarters both teams — with the exception of Rudy Gay — were guilty of some pretty horrendous hoopin’.
- At this point in the season, I can name at least three Jersey Shore girls more attractive than this Knicks offense. But as many have pointed out, it’s far too early to levy judgment for the ‘Bocker’s graceless brand of ball on Melo or Stat alone. As we all know, a Mike D’Antoni offense is predicated on an effective and efficient point playing maestro. Right now, we don’t have one. And, given Baron Davis’ history of schizoid showings, there’s an outside chance we might not have one for the foreseeable future.
- For a team playing only their second back-to-back of the young season, the Knicks looked like they’d ridden a fleet of Big Wheels from Manhattan to Memphis. Right out of the gate, they looked like they were mailing it in — like they were somehow resigned to it. It was as if to say “we can basically take a handful of games off, because this season’s going to be really tough and hard and stuff, and this is going to be one of them.” Hate to break it to you, fellas, but it don’t get any easier from here on out.
Beyond his work for KnickerBlogger, Jim is a contributor to the New York Times Off the Dribble NBA blog, ESPN.com, and The Classical. He is currently working on a biography of Robert Silverman, titled "Clownin' and Astoundin.'" Follow him on Twitter @JPCavan.