The New York Knicks went for their 12th win in 13 games against Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum.
The New York Knicks facing the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night was an evening of coming full circle.
You’ll recall it was just a few weeks ago that the Knicks had lost five of six, and a big overtime win against Memphis on April 9 was the start of this hot streak. Now, New York hoped to come away with the win and sweep the season series at FedExForum.
But it wouldn’t be easy, particularly since this was the second half of a back-to-back for the Knicks. They crushed the hapless Houston Rockets 122-97 on Sunday, and now had to face a tough Grizzlies team fresh off of an awful loss.
1st quarter: Stumbling In Memphis
Be it Memphis mystique or Elvis Presley’s ghost cheering from beyond, the New York Knicks led 25-22 after the first quarter. They missed their first six shots and committed three turnovers. Still, Tom Thibodeau’s defense held firm.
All in all, the Knicks didn’t really do anything special. The whole team stayed focused and committed to the game plan. Derrick Rose and RJ Barrett each sunk key threes and even Elfrid Payton managed six points.
It was an ugly, sloppy start. To get past this tough Grizzlies defense, the New York Knicks would have to clean things up.
Halftime report: Can You Randle This?
Another half of New York Knicks basketball gone, another game where Julius Randle makes a case for MVP. Randle scored ten of his 13 points in the second quarter, including a three at the buzzer. New York led 69-58 at the half.
And it wasn’t just Randle carrying the load. Derrick Rose had 15 points in the half, including ten in the second quarter. Alec Burks looked great in his first game back from the health and safety protocols.
The Knicks scored 44 points in the quarter in total, and the Memphis Grizzlies just looked lost on defense at times.
3rd quarter: One Step Closer
By the time the New York Knicks led 97-80 after three, they were putting on a clinic in team play. Five players entered the fourth quarter in double figures, and three more were within reach.
The Grizzlies went on some runs and got 16 third quarter points from Dillon Brooks, but not much else. The New York Knicks saw the win within reach, and only one quarter remained.
4th quarter: A Very Technical Win
At one point, it looked like the Memphis Grizzlies would steal this game. The New York Knicks could not buy a shot for most of the fourth quarter as Memphis stumbled on a 16-4 run.
Cue a Randle three and a pair of Rose floaters later, and Memphis unraveled. Frustration with the officiating led to both coach Taylor Jenkins and Ja Morant getting tossed. Technical free throws, of all things, iced the game for the Knicks.
It was a hard-fought 118-104 win, made even sweeter by the defense holding Morant to eight points on 2 of 13 shooting.
Player of the Game: Derrick Rose
Rose was once again phenomenal off the bench and scored 25 points on 15 shots, including some clutch baskets late in the fourth.