By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Bucks | Madison Square Garden
When: Saturday | 12:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York (8-17): The Knicks have had two days to rest since their rollecoaster, double-overtime win in Milwaukee on Wednesday. Tyson Chandler made his return to the lineup not a moment too soon, his presence in the paint probably the difference in the victory with Kenyon Martin and Amar'e Stoudemire out. Carmelo Anthony logged over 55 minutes, a career high, scoring the Knicks' final eight points to seal the victory.
Memphis (10-15): Considered a lock for the playoffs and a legitimate championship contender after making it to the Western Conference Finals last season, the Grizzlies have struggled so far this year with injuries and, to some degree, questions of identity. They let go of former head coach Lionel Hollins and replaced him with his assistant, Dave Joerger, but most of their personnel remains the same. Losers of five straight, they have been without star center Marc Gasol for a month and haven't been able to compensate on offense (22nd in points per 100 possessions) or defense (25th).
The Numbers Game
J.R. Smith launched 17 3-pointers on Wednesday (and made five). He's the only player to take 17 or more 3's since 2009, and he's done so three times.
Matchup to Watch
Iman Shumpert vs. Tony Allen
Allen makes his reputation as one of the NBA's premier defensive players, having been named first team All-Defense the past two seasons. He is tenacious, strong and athletic -- all words that can be used to describe Shumpert when he's playing his game. It's been a struggle for Shump to find his role this year, but if he can put it together, he has the potential to be just as impactful as Allen on the defensive end, with far more potential on offense.
What to Look For
Much was made of the Grizzlies' intent to play at a faster pace this year, but that has proven to be misguided to this point. Memphis is still defined by grit and grind, by making life difficult on opponents by cutting off passing lanes and applying ball pressure. Their offense has suffered with Gasol and speedy point guard Mike Conley out, although Zach Randolph is always a threat to score on the low block... For the Knicks, it'll be interesting to see how they respond after the marathon game on Wednesday; they've had a couple days to recover, but the effects could linger for a team that's been hit hard by injuries. Speaking of injury, Beno Udrih has started at point guard with both Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni hurt. In Milwaukee, rookie Toure' Murry got a chance to help out, but he went down with an ankle injury and is questionable to play today.