Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Notes and links the morning after the Knicks' first loss in Memphis.
Good Saturday, friends. I anticipate a quiet day here, with the Knicks taking an off day to fly home for their matinee against the Pacers tomorrow. That feels like a big game to me-- a chance to kick off a new streak against a hurt, struggling team that could go awry if the Knicks don't collect themselves for that early start. But for now, let's run through a few lingering things from last night:
- What's up with Marcus Camby? Is he still hurt or out of shape or what? Camby hasn't shown much in very limited minutes thus far, but just going off his past few seasons, he should be a more effective player right now than either Rasheed Wallace or Kurt Thomas. If he's able, I can't quite figure out why he isn't getting minutes, particularly in a game like last night's. DNP-CD.
- Ideally, any mismatch in one direction should accompany a mismatch in the other, right? If the Knicks are woefully undersized on defense, then shouldn't they be too fleet for the lumbering Grizzlies on offense? Well, it didn't really work that way. Lionel Hollins stuck Rudy Gay on Carmelo Anthony, then successfully hid Zach Randolph on either Jason Kidd or Ronnie Brewer. Neither of those guys could do enough off the dribble or away from the ball to exploit that mismatch. I mentioned last night that this game was one of the first in which New York's short-handedness really stood out. Well, Iman Shumpert's certainly not an elite slasher, but I think he'd have punished Randolph a bit more to even out those mismatches. J.R. Smith played a few minutes with the first units, but not enough to exploit big Memphis lineups with any regularity (at least not that I saw). Basically, I think the Knicks could have gotten away with getting savaged in the paint if they'd made up for it with lots of nimble guard movement and open makes on the other end. Didn't happen.
- (And, ya know, Amar'e Stoudemire. Plug him into last night's game and the mismatches become less of a thing, even if he can't defend the Memphis frontcourt either.)
- Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph were so goddamn good last night. I watched a few Synergy clips this morning, and that's pretty much what I gathered. I thought after the fact that Tyson Chandler had just played a bad game-- and he certainly wasn't productive-- but man, after watching how often he had to deter a Mike Conley drive, help on Gasol rolling (because Melo often left to trap the ballhandler, but didn't do a great job of it), then box out Zachary on the same play, I just feel sorry for the guy. Chandler definitely could have played better, but that was a tall order, even for a tall man. Even when Chandler got a hand up, Gasol and Randolph each made some tough, impressive shots away from the rim.
- I liked Rasheed Wallace's defense (when he wasn't fouling, though a few of those calls were tough) and I liked his post play. The rest of the world was much more focused on his trash talk, and rightfully so.
- Let us never forget the Kurt Thomas dribble-drive lay-in that took place between the 4:47 and 4:08 marks of the third quarter (I'm estimating). The drive was slow as flowing molasses, but it sure was inert!
- Even beyond a mediocre offensive game, J.R. Smith had a rough night. He gave Jerryd Bayless a bit of a shove that resulted in a brief altercation, then got called for a flagrant after raking Tony Allen across his arms at full speed. Regarding the Bayless incident, J.R. wasn't especially contrite:
"Other than me trying to get the ball, I don’t know what he could’ve been mad at,’’ Smith said after the Knicks’ 105-95 loss to the Grizzlies, their first defeat of the season. "Some small guards have a little man’s complex. They got to work that out.’’
- I'm spooked, but that not spooked yet, by Steve Novak's little slump. I might just be in denial, but I think he's just been rushing a bit and fallen victim to some bad rolls (that airball the other night notwithstanding).
What else? What else from Knicks-Grizzlies is still on your mind after a night's sleep (I hope)?