Knicks 99, Grizzlies 105 Postgame Highlights
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The New York Knicks defense was nonexistent in the first half and despite a late rally, they couldn’t overcome the injury-riddled Memphis Grizzlies.

The Knicks came out flat in the first half and the defense did not look good by any stretch. They trailed by eight at the half and gave up 61 points to a Grizzlies team that is averaging only 99 points per game. They looked lethargic at times and let Memphis dictate the pace of the game early.

New York Knicks

They clamped down in the final quarter and held Memphis to 17 points, but the hole was already too deep. After cutting the Grizzlies lead down to three with under a minute to play, Courtney Lee received an inexcusable technical and effectively put the game out of reach.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 21 points for the Knicks, but more importantly, he was a dynamic rim protector tonight racking up six blocks. There’s still room to grow for Porzingis on offense and he struggled from deep, only connecting on two of his seven three-pointers. It would be nice to see him stay a bit more aggressive in attacking the paint and focus less on shooting the deep ball.

Enes Kanter came out on fire scoring 14 points and grabbing five rebounds in the first quarter, but he was much quieter for the final three quarters. He only managed to score six points in 15 minutes of play from the second quarter on.

Tyreke Evans led the way for Memphis with a game-high 23 points. He also chipped in with 10 assists and six rebounds. JaMychal Green controlled the boards with 13 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end. Jarell Martin added 17 points off the bench.

Failure to Capitalize on Memphis’ Injury Woes

Memphis was playing tonight without their two best players. Mike Conley has been out since November with an Achilles injury and he wasn’t expected to play tonight. More surprisingly, Marc Gasol was missing tonight due to illness. With the Grizzlies missing their two best players, and the Knicks recently getting healthy, this should have been a win.

There is still talk of playoffs for the Knicks, but losing games to undermanned teams at the bottom of the standings is a quick way to a lottery pick. This is another sign of their youth. Older, more seasoned teams smell blood in the water and pounce on games like this. Instead of coming out and jumping at the chance of stealing a road victory, they came out lazy and uninspired. A long way to go, indeed.

Late Game Implosions

We’ve seen this a few times down the stretch of games this season, but this may have been the oddest late-game collapse for the Knicks. With only 15 seconds remaining and a jump ball at midcourt coming, Courtney Lee was called for a technical foul. The referees in the NBA have been a subject of much debate this season. There have been some questionable calls late in games, but this one can’t be blamed on the refs.

Is it odd for a referee to call a late-game technical when it didn’t look like Courtney Lee did anything completely out of order? Probably. But the fact of the matter is the Knicks put themselves in that position and Courtney Lee is too smart to get a technical in that situation, regardless of whether or not it was warranted. He was extremely fired up as he was leaving the court following the final buzzer.

Per Newsday’s Al Iannazzone, Courtney Lee was T’d up for talking with Grizzlies rookie Dillon Brooks. It certainly does not sound warranted, but that seems like a situation that the veteran Lee should be more in control of. Certainly unwarranted, but a mental error nonetheless.

Unfortunately, this could become a common theme on this current road trip. Get down early, fight back to within striking distance, and ultimately losing a close one down the stretch.

The Knicks have split their first two games of this seven-game road trip. After playing in Brooklyn and Memphis they are headed for a tour of the west coast. They head to Utah on Friday to take on the Jazz.

 

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