2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks @ Grizzlies

I’ve spent more time in Memphis’ arena than any other arena but the old Reunion Arena in Dallas, where I grew up and was lucky enough to go to about 10 games a year with my Dad, who would buy one of those wonky half-season passes and split the time between taking me or my Mom or a client. Alas, the Mavericks were garbage during most of those years in the early to mid-90s, and so as a boy I found other teams to root for. Never the front-running type, I fell in love with two teams during those formative years, one from each conference: The Seattle Supersonics, whose green uniforms fit my favorite color, and the New York Knicks, the team that finally beat the Bulls every other kid loved and so I, naturally, hated. Let alone that Michael Jordan was playing baseball that year, as a 9-year-old all i knew was that DING-DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD, and the Bulls were finally not in the NBA Finals in 1994. You all remember the results of that series and it was the topic of my very first Knickerblogger article, so I won’t rehash one of the most painful memories in Knickdom, but that’s how I became a Knicks fan and they became my East team.

I know it’s considered sports blasphemy in some circles to have two teams, though I justify it by them playing in separate conferences. Once the Mavericks were good enough to win more than 12 games in a season, I dumped the Sonics and returned to my roots, and to be fair, if the Mavericks and Knicks ever played in the NBA Finals, I would have no second thoughts about rooting for the Mavericks. But there’s another team I have a soft spot for, because I lived in Tennessee during my high school and college years, attending the University of Tennessee with dreams of a future in sports journalism. That team is of course the only NBA team in the state, the Memphis Grizzlies, and in my many trips to that fabulous and underrated city, going to Grizzlies games has always been the highlight of those little respites from the toils of daily life. Their crowd is legitimately one of the best in the league, their mascot is without a doubt the best in the league, and their team is a call-back to old-school basketball from the 90s, the closest thing to those Knicks teams of old we have in the current NBA.

Grizz Bear

The Knicks were given their 3rd chance since late November to climb over the .500 hump, and failed once again against Brooklyn sans-Melo. I’m not going to call them our cross-town rival because that shitty franchise doesn’t deserve that honor. They might play in an arena close to the Garden, but their geographic proximity is not enough to establish a rivalry. Every time the Knicks get to the precipice of Mount .500, they stagger back a few paces, and tonight could prove to be another set-back if Melo and Kristaps don’t play. Both are considered questionable, but quotes today from Ian Begley on ESPN.com suggest that they will likely not suit up in Memphis.

Kristaps Porzingis isn’t sure exactly how he injured his right shoulder but he was feeling “a little soreness” in the shoulder Friday. Will he suit up vs. Memphis? “Depends on if the doctors let me play or not… if they’re depending only on my decision, I would play tomorrow. So we’ll see what happens,” he said after practice. Porzingis is listed as questionable for the game.

Carmelo Anthony doesn’t seem very optimistic about playing Saturday against the Grizzlies. “(I’m) not where I want to be at this point. It’s only been two days or something like that,” Anthony said after practice Friday. “It’s something I don’t want to linger around if I try to rush it back. If I can go tomorrow, I’ll go. If not, I won’t.” Anthony is listed as questionable. He missed Wednesday’s game against Brooklyn with a sprained right ankle.

This is depressing news in a game the Knicks could really use (and the Mavericks really could use them winning, too), but in a theory popularized by Bill Simmons at the expense of perhaps the greatest Knick ever, Patrick Ewing, the Ewing Theory may be at play. Think of pick-up basketball, or your high school basketball team, when one guy is obviously the best player on your team, and so he ends up taking the majority of the shots. You all want to win, and so you design plays and run the offense through him to give yourselves the best chance. But then he rolls an ankle, or gets a cold, and now you’re playing without him. Sure, on the surface it looks like the team is worse, but for all of you, it means more shots, and thus, more fun. For a game or two, it can be really refreshing to play without a couple of your best players, and the Knicks have a shot at this tonight. Afflalo will almost assuredly be putting on a cape in the locker room tonight in a maniacal effort at hero ball because he knows he is the 1st and 2nd option tonight, but the rest of the guys are going to get a lot more run. Lance Thomas will get to play 30+ and O’Quinn and Gallo will see extended minutes as well. The Ewing Theory is in full play tonight if Melo and Taps don’t go, and from time to time, this is a good thing for the other guys on the team to be able to play more loosely and not have to feed the players that are ostensibly better than them. More shots=more fun, and anyone who plays basketball can attest to that.

This Memphis team has gotten a few very good victories at the hands of Eastern Conference teams we were happy to see them find a way to beat lately, with a 10-point 4th quarter comeback against the Celtics and a game-winner against the Pistons this week. Let’s hope the Knicks can win tonight and not let those L’s by teams jockeying for playoff spots with the Knicks go to waste. We’re only 1.5 games out of the 8 spot as of today, and a win tonight will get us back to .500 with a game against the 76ers all that stands in the way of being over .500 for the first time since a blissful five-day stretch in late November when we first saw signs this team might be more than we thought this year.

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Erik Judd

I'm a lifelong basketball fan whose interests range from some things to other things.

95 thoughts to “2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks @ Grizzlies”

  1. I mentioned this in the Nets game thread, but does anyone ever remember seeing Melo on the bench in the past few years when he’s missed a game? This year is the first time I’ve noticed him there.

  2. Man, clearly all the “fairweather fans” are out on a Saturday night and not at home watching the game. For shame.

    I kid, I kid.

  3. I sense a triple double in Galloway’s future. Or at least he’ll flirt with one. This would be a good night for the best guard in the NBA to show up.

  4. @32 Reub has a problem with Kahnzy and frequently trolls him on game threads.

    Meanwhile, good game so far tonight.

  5. I find that hard to believe. But even so, don’t call people idiots unless they give away draft picks for Bargnani.

  6. I’ve explained myself about a dozen times now, reub, and for some inexplicable reason I will do so again.

    I LOVE Porzingis, and I am VERY EXCITED about his future with the Knicks. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t criticize him when he has a bad game; of which he will have many because he’s young and a rookie and that’s ok. There are really only two differences between us: I am considerably more objective about his play and when he goes 5-17 I think that’s a terrible game. You clearly disagree and think 5-17 is…good? I’m not sure really what your spin was on that game, but still you get the point. Check all of my comments about Porzingis and you’ll find most of them to be favorable rather than not.

    Anyway, I don’t know why I keep explaining myself to you because every time I do you just ignore it; but this will be my last time rehashing this conversation with you. If you want to talk basketball, let’s go. Otherwise, stop acting like a child just because some guy you’ll never meet on the internet disagrees with you.

  7. KP is having a fantastic game and you post a backhanded compliment. There’s hate there. Just admit it.

  8. Win or lose, Kristaps Porzingis is making me happy tonight. Crossovers + perimeter shots + circus points in the paint + playing when we were not certain he could get on the court = smiles.

    This is a good time to be a Knicks fan.

  9. Someone explain to me the mentality of fans that roundly booed Fisher but cheered Barnes before the game?

  10. Galloway having a solid all around game. What was the final say on his contract anyway? Is he a RFA after the season, or an unrestricted one?

  11. As bad as our offense has been the past several minutes we’re lucky not to be down 10 or 12.

  12. Dammit. Well, the Griz are a pretty good team. They hung in there.

    Gasol is a amazing. Least athletic looking guy in the NBA? (after seraphin)

    My only issue with Porzingis is that he just isn’t fully developed physically yet. Which makes sense given his age and the fact he played 1100 minutes last year. But his motor late in the game leaves a little to be desired.

    Also, eff Matt Barnes

  13. My only issue with Porzingis is that he just isn’t fully developed physically yet. Which makes sense given his age and the fact he played 1100 minutes last year. But his motor late in the game leaves a little to be desired.

    Too many salmon heads, or not enough?

  14. Owen he is a work in progress. But he is our future and our savior. Anyone who can’t see it is an idiot.

  15. Knicks are getting pumped now. Every loose ball finds red, every long bound finds red. Frustrating. And our guys are just missing too much

  16. We could use another slasher for our plodding offense even if it might not fit with the triangle philosophy. Maybe give Wroten a try?

  17. Offense is not a problem for this team. Going into tonight they were 11th in offensive efficiency and if Melo can come back and stay healthy the rest of the season I wouldnt be surprised if they finish in the Top 10. But defensively this team is getting worse as the season goes on. They were 19th going into tonight and they again played awful defense tonight against a poor offensive team in Memphis who was missing Conley. The last 2 games the Knicks couldnt stop BK and Memphis who are 27th and 29th offensively in the NBA.

    This team is not going to miss the playoffs cause of the Triangle offense, they are going to miss the playoffs because of their poor defense.

  18. This team is not going to miss the playoffs cause of the Triangle offense, they are going to miss the playoffs because of their poor defense.

    I def agree with the first part of this statement. I would add to the second part… The team will miss the playoffs because they don’t have talent. I hope one day we have a GM who cares about the Knicks enough to take the rep hit… To take the flak a GM will have to take to atone for the sins of previous regimes.

  19. The Knicks won’t win games this season without being great offensively, and that can’t happen when they play like they played tonight. It’s crazy how Melo is the only person on the team who can initiate ball movement. Tonight it was one pass, no dribbling, and settling for mid range jumpers. Then again, ball movement is without purpose if there’s nobody on court who can break down a defense. The guards are really a problem for us. All of our guards would be much better if they came off the bench. If Phil could give Conley and Batum $16 million a piece we’d be much better off for it. Starting guards in today’s NBA need to be able to defend, pass, shoot, and create offense off the dribble. Until we have legit starting guards, we’ll continue to be mediocre.

  20. The Knicks currently are not very talented but they have enough talent and, as much as many people hate the triangle, they have a good enough offensive system to be a borderline Top 10 offense. But their defense, especially on the perimeter, is still beyond awful. The only reason this team defensively is better than last season is because of Lopez and KP protecting the rim plus Fisher now actually is emphasizing guarding the 3pt line which last year he completely disregarded the need to defend the 3pt line. Yet they still are a bottom 10 defense despite being one of the best teams in the league guarding the rim and 3pt line.

    I expected at best around 35 wins but this team is alot better offensively than Id ever imagine they would be. They also have shown flashes of very good defense at times and Fisher does seem to have a much better grasp at coaching defense than he did last season which is encouraging to see. But losing games because you cant get stops in the 4th quarter annoys me more than anything else. I get more frustrated watching horrible defense than horrible offense.

    Having said all that I’m thrilled to be 20-22 right now but I think its a very fine line for this team, it seems like they are always on the verge of a long losing streak that will end any playoff hopes. But they are 20-18 with Melo so its easy to believe this is could be a playoff team as long as Melo stays healthy.

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