By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Grizzlies | Madison Square Garden
When: Wednesday | 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG Networks
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: The Knicks have now won five straight games. As J.R. Smith said after dropping 32 points in the win over Boston last night: "This where we want to start our run." Tyson Chandler (questionable for tonight) is still nursing a bulging disc in his neck, but the healthy Knicks appear to have hit their stride. J.R. Smith is attacking the basket like never before, Kenyon Martin continues to step up in Chandler's place, and with 13 games remaining, you could argue that they are peaking at just the right time.
Memphis: In a season that seems to have been filled with teams going on extraordinarily long winning streaks, the Grizzlies rattled off 14 of 15 just a couple weeks ago. They barely missed a beat after trading Rudy Gay (and his max contract) and replacing him in the starting lineup with Tayshaun Prince. They rank 2nd in the league in defensive efficiency, but will be without center Marc Gasol indefinitely while he recovers from an abdominal tear.
UPDATE: It turns out that Gasol has been nursing the abdonimal injury all month, they wre resting him, and now he will play.
Last Time Out
New York: In a performance that perhaps symbolized a changing of the guard in the Atlantic Division, the Knicks rode into Boston and emerged with a convincing 100-85 win last night.
Memphis: The Grizzlies were blitzed by John Wall's 47 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds in a 107-94 loss to the Wizards on Monday.
The Numbers Game
The Knicks scored 50 points in the paint last night against the Celtics.
Matchup to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. Zach Randolph
Old school power forward, meet new school power forward. Randolph is the classic example for the position: throw it to him on the block and let him use a variety of post moves to get buckets. He's a beast on the boards, too -- one of the few guys in the NBA you can count on for consistent 20-10 production. Melo represents the revolution of teams going small, utilizing quickness and floor spacing to attack slower, more traditional lineups. He struggled with his shot last night in Boston, going 10-of-30, but the attention he drew clearly opened things up for his teammates.
What to Look For
Things are beginning to heat up for the Knicks, who will be looking to capture their 6th straight win tonight. They face another tough, defensive-minded team, so ball movement and limiting turnovers will again be crucial. Chandler could play tonight, but expect the Knicks to take the conservative route if he isn't 100% ready. The playoffs are in sight, and with the way they've been playing, there is no need to rush anyone back. The Grizzlies will miss Gasol's presence on both ends, but with point guard Mike Conley initiating and Randolph drawing attention on the block, they remain dangerous.