Knicks 118 Grizzlies 117, 3OT

First Quarter

Damon Stoudamire killed the Knicks by blowing past Stephon Marbury, and Curry offered no help. Meanwhile Mike Miller was lighting it up on the outside. Francis is forcing up shots. The Knicks are down by 5 at the end of the quarter

Second Quarter

The Knicks start off the quarter with their small lineup. David Lee is the center, accompanied by Balkman at PF, with a 3 guard lineup of Crawford, Marbury, and Robinson. It’s obvious the Knicks want to run against the slow paced Grizzlies, but to do so New York must force stops on the defensive ends. When they grab a defensive rebound, they are able to run the court well. Unfortunately they’re only able to prevent Memphis from scoring about half the time.

Nate Robinson earned a technical under the new league rules on outbursts. Unless Robinson is a quick learner, expect to see more of this as he’s the most demonstative Knick.

With Curry back in, the Grizzlies are still penetrating the lane with their smaller guys. Eddy is too slow to help out. To my astonishment, the Knick announcers Gus Johnson & Walt Frazier state that Eddy Curry isn’t in foul trouble because the Grizzlies aren’t an interior team to challenge Curry. True they don’t have a post presence, but they’ve created a lot of plays by getting past the Knick guards into the paint and Curry hasn’t been there to help out.

On a Memphis possession, the Knick announcers say “a Gay turnaround jumper.” Chuckles heard in the KnickerBlogger household.

Quentin Richardson is on fire. Forget what I said about his shooting yesterday, at least for tonight. At the end of the half, he has 13 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting. Counting the 3-3 from the field, and I have his eFG at a remarkable 130%. Curry has quiet 10 points at the half as well, but also has picked up his 3rd foul. The Knicks are up 51-46 at the half.

Third Quarter

One promising tidbit from the MSG announcers, they state that Isiah Thomas doesn’t care about how many points the Knicks give up per game. All he is concerned with is opponent FG% and the point differential. Although I would have been happier with eFG% and points/possesion, I’m satisfied that Isiah Thomas understands that pace can affect per game averages.

During this quarter he has two goaltending calls. Up until this point Eddy Curry is just about useless on defense, until now. His first block of the game is a vicious rejection of a Roberts attempted dunk. Curry’s big size allows him to land standing. Marbury lets 10 seconds run off the 24 second clock for Curry to make it up court. The replay shows Eddy just standing there after the block. Maybe Eddy is just as shocked with the block as the rest of us. It’s not all bad for Curry as he has grabbed a bunch of boards, and is the Knicks second leading scorer at this point. He has a double-double on the stat sheet. With a moderate defensive game, he’d be an All Star.

Rookie Renaldo Balkman looks nervous. Off a steal, Balkman has a few steps on the rest of the Grizzly team, but attempts to pass the ball to a trailing teammate. The ball sails out of bounds.

By the end of the quarter, the Knicks are up by 11.

Fourth Quarter

The Knicks looking to keep their lead come out charging. Unfortunately charging is illegal in the NBA. New York’s offense is all charges and forced shots. Curry earns his fifth foul, which sends him to the bench. Before he does, one of the Memphis forwards spins around right past him and dunks. It happened so fast I wasn’t sure if it was Warrick or Gay.

Almost unbelievably, the Knicks blow the lead and the game is tied at 89. David Lee preserves the tie by blocking a shot with 20 seconds left to give New York one last possession. Crawford has the ball for the last shot. He lets the clock down to a couple of seconds before attempting a three point shot. Walt Clyde Frazier hits the nail on the head when he calls the play “stupid.” Let me count the reasons. First, why not move the ball around to find an easy shot? Second, why not give it to Curry who was back in the game for the final 20 seconds? Third why not drive to the hoop & hope a double team opens a teammate or draw a foul? Finally, why a three point shot when you only need 1 point to win?

Memphis outscores the Knicks 29-18 in this quarter.

Fifth Quarter

Curry is back in and helps turn the tides for New York with his defense. With 3 minutes left, Eddy blocks a Lowry drive with authority. The block leads to a Knick fast break that Marbury finishes up by spinning past a defender and draining an open jumper. If Eddy could just do that more often…

Francis fouls out, and the Knicks replace him with David Lee. Lee is obviously rewarded for his blocked shot in the fourth quarter. Lee has an up & down quarter, as most of the action surrounds him. He commits a charge on the offensive end, but then a rebound and a quick outlet pass leads to another Marbury fast break. Lee’s contrasting quarter continues when he gets his shot blocked by Rudy Gay, forcing a shot clock violation. However Lee tips in a Crawford miss to give New York a 1 point lead.

On Memphis’ last possession there is a Kelvin Cato sighting. Cato replaces Curry as a defensive specialist, but the Knicks still end up fouling Memphis. Miller proceeds to miss both free throws, however New York allows Warrick to get the rebound, and fouls him with a couple of ticks left on the clock. Warrick hits one of two, and the game goes into double overtime.

Sixth Quarter

Quentin Richardson is keeping the team afloat. Curry tips in a missed Nate Robinson shot. I’ve said some negative things about Curry, but it’s been about his defense not offense. Eddy Curry has been out there for over a quarter now with 5 fouls, but the Knicks are ignoring him on offense. And it’s a damn shame. Marbury & Francis are both relegated to the bench with 6 fouls. Instead of forcing the ball in to the Knicks best option, the guards are taking shot after shot from outside. A few times Curry has decent position in the post, but the Knick guards either ignore him, or swing the ball to the other side. Both Crawford and Nate ignore Curry time after time.

Everyone is tired, including bloggers following the game. KnickerBlogger puts his pen and notepad aside with his cramped hand, and instead of keeping notes he reserves his energy for yelling at the tv.

Despite having the lead for nearly 4 minutes in the quarter, Memphis ties the game with less than half a minute. The game goes into triple overtime.

Seventh Quarter

Good news for New York, the Grizzlies start off the 7th quarter by missing their first three shots. The bad news is that the Grizzlies start off with 3 offensive boards, and end the possession by having Eddy Curry foul out. Channing Frye, the prodigal son, re-enters the game. Crawford finally hits a shot to make him 4 of 21. Maybe John Starks needed 3 more shots in 1994?

Unlike the last quarter, the Knicks spend most of the 7th trailing the Grizzlies. Crawford begins to redeem himself for a poor shooting night and blocks a shot. In a wild series, Frye nervously passes the ball off a referee & in the confusion David Lee is left free under the hoop. The Knicks retain the ball, and find Lee for an easy bucket.

With less than a minute left, Nate Robinson forces shot with 3 guys on him. It’s blocked, but Robinsons ends up with the ball and calls a time out. Again Nate drive to the hoop with 3 defenders trailing. However he’s fouled, but only hits one of two to leave the Knicks down by one.

Again Crawford comes up with a defensive play by stealing the ball. Crawford hits Richardson on the ensuing break, and Richardson is fouled. Despite the positive results, I’m not happy with the play. Crawford gave the ball up way too early, causing Richardson to leave his feet further from the hoop. Every basketball player learns not to give up the ball too early when you have a 2 on 1 advantage.

Richardson sinks both, and the Knicks have to make a big defensive stand to keep their one point lead. Like Cato three quarters ago, there is a Mardy Collins sighting. New York plays smart on the last possession, and it saves them the game. First they used up half the clock before committing their last team foul. Second was the fabulous defensive effort by Richardson on Mike Miller. The Grizzlies inbounded the ball to Miller on the extended elbow. Miller dribbled towards the paint, and Richardson stayed right with him, even when Miller showed an elbow on a turn around dribble. When the Grizzlies forward attempted the final shot of the game Richardson held his ground, never leaving his feet. It was a textbook defensive play, and gave the Knicks the game.

Post Game Thoughts

New York’s problem was going away from the offense. It served them well for 3 quarters, but they abandoned it shortly afterwards. Instead of moving the ball, the last 4 quarters consisted of one guard either settling for a jumper or driving madly to the basket. I’ll say it again, it was a serious mistake for the Knicks to ignore Curry in the extra quarters.

Channing Frye was the forgotten man. He didn’t look comfortable, only shot 2 of 10, and almost fumbled away the ball in the second overtime. Fortunately Lee looked fabulous. His rebounding was sorely needed, and while he had his bad moments, he made a lot of plays that led to the Knicks’ win. He’d be the player of the game, if it wasn’t for Quentin Richardson.

Richardson played phenomenally well. I won’t expect him to hit 10 of 13 every night, including a perfect 5 of 5 from downtown. However if tonight is any indication, it’s possible that Richardson is back to his productive self. Quentin also played tough defense and hit those clutch free throws to give the Knicks the game for good.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

20 thoughts to “Knicks 118 Grizzlies 117, 3OT”

  1. You are right about them ignoring Curry. He had position and mismatches repeatedly and Crawford and Robinson ignored him. Robinson is a scorer, but he needs to pass more. And Crawford needs to pretend Larry Brown is still here, because tonight he looked like the useless gunner from seasons past. Marbury played well on offense, very unselfish. This team has potential if they stick to their plan, don’t let Francis-Crawford-Robinson hog the ball, and continue to play hard, which was nice to see. Q-Rich and Lee really set a nice tone for the whole team’s effort level.

  2. Yeah, the fourth quarter was just a series of “Seriously? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? THAT’S the shot you want when you’re trying to keep them from coming back?!!?”

    The Grizzlies cut it to a 9 point game with 4:26 to play.

    Here are the Knicks next shots:

    Frye – misses 26-foot three-pointer
    Crawford – misses 26-foot three-pointer
    Richardson – misses 22-foot three-pointer

    Crawford – fouled on a shot (makes 1 of 2)

    Marbury – misses 9-foot jumper
    Crawford – misses 18-foot jumper

    Mix in two turnovers, and that was how the Knicks LOST THE LEAD.

    It was insane! How idiotic is it to not drive to the basket when you’re trying to preserve a lead?!

    It’s like a football team up a touchdown with 2 minutes to go throwing on three straight plays!!!

    Sooooo dumb.

    But what a result. :)

  3. David Lee was outstanding on the boards.

    Channing Frye is going to find himself in jeopardy of losing his minutes if his weak interior defense constinues. Frye and Eddy Curry should learn how to play defense before they ever raise their hands for the ball on offense.

    “Q” had his best game as a Knick.

    Good win, they almost let slip away

  4. Yeah, I know he’s coming off an injury, but boy does Frye not look too good coming out of the gates.

  5. “Frye and Eddy Curry should learn how to play defense before they ever raise their hands for the ball on offense.”

    If Eddy Curry did that, he would be the most useless player ever. Well, besides Jerome James.

  6. Oh, by the by, I made a derisive comment when Clyde made a comment about how Mike Miller looked like he wasn’t ready to shoot the free throw, as it sounded like a typical homerish comment (a la Gus Johnson’s wretched “Hallelujah!” at the end of the game), and then, viola, Miller’s free throw was terrible, so I gotta give some props to Walt.

  7. Yeah, those shots at the end of the game were inexplicable. Is that how Isiah really drew it up? Cause..uhh…that’s not a good sign.

  8. What are they going to do when they run into better guards than Chucky Atkins and Kyle Lowry? They entered the lane, and so did Stoudamire before his departure, like there was no one in front of them all night and if the Grizz could hit a free throw the Knicks could never have held them off.

  9. Can’t argue with any of that. The 4th Q was nearly unbearable to watch.

    Ken, I was thinking the same thing about Crawford — just about everybody played better than they did under LB, EXCEPT Crawford. Crawford reverted back to pre-LB form, flinging up several bad shots with 15+ left on the shot clock. The one guy who actually improved under LB seems to have forgotten everything he learned.

    Curry was actually pretty impressive last night — maybe that “be a man” speech actually got through. His D still has a long way to go, but if he just gave us what he gave last night all season long, we would be a much better team. I like Lee more every time I see him.

    Francis and Frye were awful. (WTF was that 3pt attempt by Frye in the 4th!) Let’s hope they get it together better than that. Rudy Gay looks like a monster. I really thought he was overrated in the draft, but I guess I’m a complete idiot when it comes to understanding potential of a college player.

    All in all a nice win…albeit it was the Grizzlies without Gasol.

  10. What an excruciating win. 4th quarter was pure torture, but I can’t say that it was surprising. Either they stopped listening to Isiah or Isiah was telling them all the wrong things, both of which are disturbing.

    Some positives though: Marbury looked to be in control of the team, Curry rebounded well, the outlet passes looked good, and hopefully Jamal Crawford will never be allowed to try to win a game again.

  11. The Knicks won’t win many games ‘free-lancing’. They should have won the game in regulation anyway, if not because Memphis didn’t have Pau Gasol. All this pampering and positive reinforcement from Isiah might be pleasant for the team, but it doesn’t necessarily win games.

  12. Yes. The Knicks fell apart in the 4th quarter, but was I the only one who thought the refs were whistle happy in this game. I mean how many offense fouls were called against the Knicks in the 3rd/4th of the game? 10? 14? Most of which were flops, no calls, or blocking fouls. All these calls mess up the flow of the game. LET them play the damn game!! I think this is why they settled for perimeter shots at the end of the game, because every time they drove to the hoop the refs call offense fouls on them. It was ugly and they need to avoid the offense foul traps in their developing up tempo style. Anyway, I think as well that Frye better step up or he’ll be on the bench. He doesn’t seem to be in tune with the offense and I didn’t see any defense. Lee was great. He’s high energy as is Balkman, who may eat into Frye’s minutes over the season. Go Knicks!!!

  13. I agree Jade. I thought some of the calls in the fourth were absolutely rediculous. So much flopping by the Grizz. The Knicks were getting submarined on so many drives. I hate the way charges are called in the NBA these days. It really does kill the flow and someone is going to get a cheap injury one day.

    Frye looks just terrible. So mechanical and lost – the guy just doesn’t seem to run on any basketball insticts. He’s a poor starting complement to Curry, too, because neither rebound or defend well. Lee would be a much better fit at the starting PF spot because he really does all the little things and doesn’t need the ball to be effective. Also, I love Lee’s ability to throw the quick outlet pass to the guards on the defensive rebound.

    Curry was much better than expected and showed more guts than he ever has in a Knicks uniform. Hopefully he can keep it up. Q showed some real leadership, too. He really held it all together and played a fantastic all around game.

  14. Yeah, the refs were extremely iffy on the charge calls. At one point Lee got wrecked by someone and called for the block and was overheard saying “Come on youve been calling that charge all night!”. He had a good point.

  15. Francis seemed uncomfortable the whole game. He really never seemed to have a handle on the ball. Any observations on the new ball?

  16. The Knicks had the advantage last night in the front line. They fed the ball to Curry and he responded. It also opened up the floor and allowed Richardson to do his thing.

    Then they were up by a ton and guards all forgot about Curry and he ran around for the 4th Quarter, the First Over time and the 2nd over time and didn’t even touch the ball !

    Mean while Crawford did his best John Starks impression and kept on throwing up bricks. They needed to pound the ball to Curry who finally was playing some defense and grabbing rebounds. What does it say to Curry that if you bust your but you still won’t touch the ball in the 4th quarter.

  17. Gee, it was just one game, guys! Crawford did stink up the joint, but also made a couple of key plays in the final minutes at clutch moments. I mean, he isn’t the first streak shooter in history. And we’re all so negative, I see very little mention of Richardson’s best game as a Knick above, but repeated mentions of all the lousiness, which may be true, but…

    I mean, Frye looked very comfortable last year, so it’s going to take more than one game for me to write him off. And Steve Francis may not play a game that we all adore, but he’s obviously not going to play all season like last night (and he did rebound good for a guard, lets look for the positives!)

    Also, Jackie Butler was a DNP in his first game with the Spurs, so apparently as great as he is, he ain’t as great as Francisco Elson! And is Sweetney hurt? All of the guys the Knicks have let go haven’t exactly caught fire in the league, either.

    Overall, I wasn’t happy with the fourth quarter either, or Thomas’ not doing ANY substitutions unless forced during the overtimes — when the Grizzles were killing the Knicks on rebounds, I kept thinking replace Lee with Balkman or Frye just for a minute so they can get fresh legs, but the Knicks did play hard in the overtimes and generally throughout the game, if not always smart.

    And, hell, they won. That’s gotten pretty rare around these parts against any opponents, so I’ll take it. For now.

  18. Well said, Jim. There are a lot of positives to take out of the game. Sure the 4th quarter stunk, but the Knicks showed a lot in the OTs. Instead of settling for a ‘moral’ victory, they actually pulled together and got the real victory.

    I did get kinda harsh on Frye, but really, he hasn’t looked all that comfortable since mid-season last year. I think the league figured him out a little bit. I still like him and think he can contribute, I just think David Lee (with his rebounding ability and intangibles) is a much better fit in the starting line up.

    I’m not concerned about Crawford. And as for Francis, when i heard he only had 2 points I was really surprised. I thought he played just fine (aside from dribbling it off his foot in the 4th).

    The best part was having Q step up and lead the team to victory. Last year, no one aside from Crawford could carry the team. Great to see that Q was able to carry the load.

  19. We’ll know how this season is going to go during the next tense fourth quarter they face. It may be in Atlanta, but it will definitely happen by the Indiana game.

    Early on, they’ll run the offnese and feed Curry (and hopefully Frye and Lee) in the post. They’ll even let Q post up.

    If they run the offense through Curry in the end of the game, even if he doesn’t always succeed, then Isiah has taken control back.

    If they do that one on one perimeter garbage on every posesson, then this team will collaps and Zeke will be gone by Valentines Day.

    Personally, I hope they show the philosophical progress that I mentioned above, but Zeke gets fired anyway.

  20. It isn’t just the first game that Frye has looked out of sorts. He’s looked bad all through preseason. The new offense doesn’t seem well suited to him.

    By the by, Butler’s deal with the Spurs – two years or three?

    If it’s three (which is what I seem to recall), then I see them pretty much burying him this year.

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