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Knicks 103, Grizzlies 98: 'Fizdale revenge game'

The grits were ground.

NBA: New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

In the opening moments of the telecast Clyde Frazier said, “The grit and the grind will blow your mind”. The Grizzlies proceeded to hack away at the Knicks and hopped out to a quick lead behind Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. New York was losing their cool. Their freedom of movement was shackled and beaten. The neophytes made several ineffectual, waif-like fouls. It felt like the Knicks were just going to get mauled all evening.

Then at half time the Knicks picked themselves up and came out ready to rumble. They put a 32-19 thumping on the Grizzlies in the third. At one point going on a 21-3 run and taking the lead. Memphis fought back in the fourth but New York was able to fend them off and seized what community member “at1with0” called the “Fizdale revenge game”. Seemed like the whole team might agree with that sentiment.

  • This game was very much a grizzled affair. Both teams bricked some of the worst bricks I can remember. There were several point blank doinks. Then there were several catastrophic airballs. It was a fugly game.
  • Enes Kanter was really good. Not pulling any punches. He was good to the tune of 21 points and 26 rebounds in 41 minutes. The rebounding mark is a single game high in the NBA this season. Enes did have his travails on the defensive side but he showed as much effort as we get to see from him on that end. With a few poke aways and hard fouls he actually may have even made a difference in a few key moments. We give him a lot of shit around these parts, but Enes was up to the task tonight. This game was tailor made for Kanter. It was slow and brute force was going to win the day. So Enes plowed through all of Memphis’ skinny big men. He even recognized and passed out of a few double teams.
  • As good as Enes was, the game ball definitely has to go to Noah Vonleh tonight. Vonleh is one of many players trying to make certain they have a career in this league and he showed pretty well how much he belongs. The stats might not show it, but his effort on defense kept so much connected. He went to work to keep everyone in furs.
  • Frank Ntilikina only got 13 minutes but his willingness early to push and attack assertively in transition is really my everything. He played well in the early going but didn’t get his number called very much as the game wore on. One time Trey Burke hung around in the middle of the floor and it kept Frank from being able to push with full speed down the gut of Memphis’ defense. Please get out on the wing in transition, please! I know you know. Look at this fantastic effort, and yes a relocation is an effort play!
  • Allonzo Trier had a very impactful 22 minutes. He didn’t shoot all that well (5-12 for 10 points) but he drilled down into the core of Memphis’ defense and it sucked plenty of defenders toward the undrafted guard. Look at him pound the hell out of Conley here.
  • In other youngster news: Kevin Knox looked lost trying to guard up against Memphis’ big power forwards several times and barely saw the court. Mitchell Robinson got a handful of minutes but he too isn’t ready for this 90’s hardcore stuff. Damyean Dotson received yet another DNP-CD.
  • Continuing his really nice stretch of games, Emmanuel Mudiay did bits of everything. In a mere 23 minutes he notched 17 points, four assists and two bounds. He moved his feet and got over some screens to bother Mike Conley and even used some athleticism to overcome a few mental mistakes.
  • Mudiay also had the highlight of the game when he yammed fire out of Garrett Temple’s desire.
  • The Grizzlies fourth-quarter defense was a sight to behold. It extended the Knicks out to 30+ feet from the basket and made them execute flawlessly to manufacture some tough buckets. Marc Gasol stopped letting Kanter get any position, much less good position, on the left block. Pushing him all the way out to 20-feet and negating his value in the process. Daring him to shoot on more than one occasion.
  • Gasol’s activity helped the rest of the Grizz fill in the gaps. Their long limbs made life hell for the Knicks. Jaren Jackson Jr. in particular stood out, swatting seven shots. Gasol added five of his own and the team finished with a 19-5 edge over the Knicks in that department.

This was a throwback game with modern geometry. Enes Kanter can thrive in the slow down system and he did, bullying kids. The Knicks still did their part sprinting behind the defense and hurrying Memphis as much as they could. The Grizzlies just never seem alarmed. They churn out long possessions on their basketball conveyor belt. Tonight the Knicks just ate the most chocolates off the belt.

That is three wins in a row against +.500 ball clubs. I assume we’ll see the league adjust to David Fizdale and his constant adjustments but maybe, just maybe, these Knicks will be prepared for that. Next game is Tuesday against a tough Pistons team.