Game Recap: Grizzlies 94, Knicks 83: A Grizzly Performance

What is there to say, other than the Knicks appropriately walked into FedEx Arena and really mailed one in?  A 94-83 drubbing that wasn’t even as close as the double digit score would indicate due to a 31-19 4th quarter in the Bockers favor, the Knicks put up a horrendous performance against a 3-6 team without Z Bo.  The Knicks shot 37% from the floor, and while the defense was strong at times, in general, it was a terrible and lackluster performance.  The Knicks came out flat from the start, Amar’e picked up 2 fouls in the blink of an eye and the rout was on, with the cherry on top of that awful start being a horrendous 2nd foul on Melo with under a second to go in the first on Rudy Gay.  It was that kind of night.  The Knicks did a decent defensive job, outside of repeatedly getting torched by Gay and OJ Mayo, who put up a very efficient 26 and 18 respectively.  For the Knicks part, Melo played well prior to first hurting his wrist, then spraining his ankle (more on that in second), and had a nice little Baltimore battle going with Rudy Gay until his injuries.  Fields and Bill Walker were the lone bright spots, as Landry played a strong controlled game, somehow ending up with +9 +/- in that sea of garbage, while his fellow starters posted horrendous numbers.  Bully Walker shot 4-7 from deep on his way to nice 14 point performance.

Outside of that, Chandler rebounded well again with 11, but there was no effort to get him involved in the offense by his teammates at all, and he mustered only 2 points on 3 shots.   Outside of freezing Tyson out, one would be hard pressed to decide who had the more putrid performance between STAT, Toney or Iman.  I’ll rule Toney out, only because most of his 3 of 13 clunk fest came as they tried to shoot their way into making a game of it in the 2nd half and he played some nice D.  Amar’e and Iman were simply dreadful on a night (with Melo dinged up) where the Knicks really needed their best efforts.  Amar’e was terrible when he wasn’t yanked off the floor for foul trouble, mustering only 20 minutes and 1-7 from the floor for 6 points, his lowest total in almost 2 years.   He had the 3rd longest double digit streak in the league behind LeBron and Durant, so that’s now history.

For Shump’s part, the most shots by a rookie this year had been 19, a mark Shump came out on a mission to obliterate with his 3 of 15 FIRST HALF.  He settled down to end the game a dreadful 5-20 from the field because, ya know, when your job as the point is to get others involved and your shot is so bad that night it should be taken out behind the arena and put out of its misery, it’s important to hoist more Shump shots (get it?) than any rookie has this year.  The 4 steals were great, and he had some nice defensive effort, but he deserved the hook long before he got it, and this is coming from the guy who wrote Bibby’s obituary a few days back.  We’ll chalk this one up to being a rookie and hope he is ready for Russell Westbrook on Saturday, because the Bockers will need him and his hands will be full.

The only positive thought I can leave on in terms of team performance is, outside of Toney and Iman’s 2-9 combined brickathon on treys, the Knicks shot really well from deep, with the rest of the squad knocking down 9 of 17.  Other than that, the Bockers were out rebounded, outclassed in the paint, repeatedly beaten for fast break points and turned the ball over repeatedly.

Quick hits:

  • Reggie Miller claimed Tyson’s first half perimeter jump shot was his first shot outside of the paint this year.  That was not something I was aware of, and I think it speaks to Tyson really playing within himself, but I took that comment with a grain of salt, because I generally don’t trust anything Reggie Miller says.
  • Rudy Gay was really impressive.  He’s finally maturing to match his contract.  I’ve never like Rudy since the local kid, who was the Terps’ guest of honor at Maryland Madness after the Terps NCAA title, pulled a surprise 180 and instead committed to Jim Calhoun and UConn.  I bet it had nothing to do with Calhoun giving his uncle a job.
  • Rudy had a ridiculous first half dunk, which was matched with Shump’s alley oop from Bibby.  Two really impressive displays of athleticism.
  • I felt like TNT was taunting the Knicks faithful all night by flashing Boris Diaw’s 25 minute, 0 point effort against ATL tonight on their ticker repeatedly.  It’s not like he just carved the Knicks up twice in a row… oh wait.
  • Melo’s injury looked bad at first, and hopefully the Bockers have him available against Durant and the Thunder Saturday.  He’s already banged up with a variety of injuries at the point in the year, and is obviously critical to the team’s success.  Not a lot of off days to get Melo healthy in this condensed season.
  • While the Knicks got down in the first half, the 3rd quarter is what really sunk them.  Already playing with a double digit deficit, the Knicks came out in the  2nd half and acted like they were constantly and blindfoldedly (yes, that’s a real adjective) hunting for the Rock N’ Jock 12 point shot.  I guess chipping away at a lead is so 2000’s.
  • I’ve now been lucky enough to do our recap on the Lakers game (terrible loss), first Bobcats game (awful performance) and this steaming turd, which may have topped them all.  The lesson here… you can probably assume a Hindenburg style performance when I’m on recap duty.
  • Shump.  Ugh. This seems like as good a time as any to voice my opinion on the neophyte, which provides a little counter balance to the Shumpamania burgeoning elsewhere.  Full disclosure:  I was not the least bit upset when the Bockers drafted Shump, actually really excited.  But, I preferred Chris Singleton, on the basis that I think they both have the potential to be All NBA defenders, but thought that Singleton should probably develop into a better 3 pt shooter (based on what I saw in college) and is able to defend bigs, which, at the time, meant serving as a substitute to Jared Jeffries.  Since then the Knicks acquired Tyson, and Shump really has worked on his game and jumper during the lockout so, where we stand now, I’m happier the Knicks drafted Shump.  His world class athleticism and energy are a tremendous boon to the team, and it shows in our record when he has been healthy.  However, my issue with Shump is this: As I mentioned, I’ve watched a ton of ACC ball over the years and, at G Tech, I watched him play point with little to no concern with getting his teammates involved in the action.  Really talented college bigs in Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors were easily neutralized by the opposition, mainly by allowing Shump free reign to find his own jumper and making passing lanes to them difficult.  For all his talent (especially the first two years), the book on Tech was, if the game was coming down to the final possessions, as long as you forced Shump into taking tough shot (which wouldn’t take much prodding), you’d be in good shape.  That obviously reared its head last night, and was the first real glimpse of how Shump can single handedly shoot his team out of the game.  As I mentioned in the Toney piece, its fine til Baron comes back, mostly because it will give Shump good experience, but I don’t think Shump is the point on a quality team, but rather better suited to play the two.  You can’t be successful with a PG who doesn’t look for teammates and has no filter or conscience when his shots aren’t falling.  You get performances like last night, and Shump needs to realize when he just doesnt have it or, if he isnt capable of that recognition (which is a distinct possiblity), D’Antoni needs to take the decision out of his hands.  That all being said, the 4 steals he put up last night and the uber athletic oop from Bibby are the reasons I am so excited about the Shump era… as a 2 guard.

If it was a header of ours on Knicks Bricks, I would have filed this one under “huge embarrassing failure”.  On to OKC…

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