photo via thebasketballmachine.blogspot.com
Knicks (43-26) vs Grizzlies (47-23)
730PM/ET on MSG
The Knicks went into Boston and handled business from tip-off until the final buzzer sounded. Their defense was A+. They forced 20 turnovers that led to 17 points. But the most impressive play came from Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith. The two of them combined for 61 of the Knicks 100 points. It’s safe to say, at this point, the Knicks have reclaimed some of the mojo that fueled their 18-5 start of the season, especially with Smith’s new commitment to driving to the hole versus settling for terrible, terrible shots. Amazingly, Smith didn’t take his first three-pointer until the second half of last night’s game. This ain’t the same ol’ Smith, boys and girls. And the Knicks are better because of it. One can only hope that Smith and the rest of the team will continue to play this aggressively as there’s no relief in sight.
Tonight, they face another tough test when the Memphis Grizzlies pay the Garden a visit. As luck would have it, the Knicks catch another break because the Grizzlies are still without their bigman, Marc Gasol. But with or without Gasol, the Grizzlies have acquired a team identity of playing physical. And unfortunately for the Knicks, they’ve sometimes allowed their emotions get the best of them when referees appear to show favoritism toward their opponents. In order to stay competitive tonight, the Knicks must keep their emotions in check and not pick up unnecessary technical fouls. When the Grizzlies and Knicks met in November, six technical fouls were doled out between the two teams. As Tyson Chandler continues to recover from his neck injury, Kenyon Martin will most likely be tasked with keeping Zach Randolph in line. Expect the physicality of those two to be on.
Although the Grizzlies may have a bit of a chip on their shoulders after allowing John Wall to drop 47 on them Monday night, I don’t think it’ll be enough to cool off the Knicks. Knicks win.
NY Knicks vs Charlotte Bobcats: Friday @ 730PM/ET, MSG