The Knicks fought back in the second half against the visiting Grizzlies but could not keep pace with their hot shooting, losing another one at home.

On Wednesday, the Memphis Grizzlies (36-18) defeated the New York Knicks (24-28) by a final of 120-108. For Memphis, Ja Morant finished with 23 points and nine assists, while Jaren Jackson Jr. had 26 points and 10 rebounds. For New York, Evan Fournier led the Knicks with 30 points and eight made threes while Julius Randle backed him up with 18 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. 

This game started with the “same ‘ol Knicks”; Memphis got out early and attacked them with speed, athleticism, and urgency. Morant was unstoppable for New York, piercing the Knicks defense and soaring to finish at the rim. If it was Morant getting active, De’Anthony Melton was a surprise off the bench, with 12 points off the pine early. New York came out lethargic, allowing Memphis to get just about any shot they wanted on offense and the early Kemba Walker flurry didn’t work. 

And for a brief moment, the Knicks seemed cooked. Memphis got the lead up to 15 as its big men took over. Brandon Clarke was the benefactor of New York’s defense keeping an extra eye on a driving Morant, while Jackson Jr. was pestering the Knicks with his inside-outside game—posting and pushing around opposing players in the post while also knocking down a few threes as the trailer in transition. And though Steven Adams finished with two points, his ability to set screens and open up shooters in the corners was there as well. 

For about 21 minutes, the Grizzlies just owned the Knicks. Kicked them up and down the floor on both sides of the floor and their star player was in the midst of a big game. All signs pointed to the Knicks rolling over and another night of the bench playing the majority of the fourth quarter. But instead of rolling over, New York fought. 

Even amiss some poor performances, the Knicks continued to fight back and kept it close. Julius Randle went on the offensive, attacking Memphis’ defense and pushing back against the Grizzlies bigs. RJ Barrett thrived in transition, as the Knicks began to turn Memphis’ miscues into points on the other end. Evan Fournier excelled using Randle handoffs for open looks and Immanuel Quickley came alive with a few electric threes to wake the Garden up as New York got close to tying it up in the fourth quarter. 

In the end, it was New York’s defense that hurt them. The Knicks continued to cut through Memphis’ defense with timely baskets to keep them hovering with eight points, but the Grizzlies always found a basket when needed. If it wasn’t Morant driving to the basket, it was open threes from Jackson, Desmond Bane, and Ziaire Williams, all of which, hit huge threes to keep the Knicks at bay and helped Memphis leave MSG with a victory. Randle losing his cool and receiving a second technical was annoying, but the game was over at that point. 

All in all, the Knicks should get credit for fighting back. Memphis beats you with several different options on their roster in waves. They have an elite point guard, but they have proper wing players, big men, and everything in between, making them a tough matchup for anyone. The Knicks didn’t get much from the bench tonight, which could be the difference as outside of Quickley, guys like Obi Toppin and Quentin Grimes didn’t pop in their minutes.

On to the very brief game notes.

Game Notes

  • Mitchell Robinson is played really well lately. As the Knicks fought back in the second quarter, he had an excellent stretch where he got two dunks and swatted two Memphis shots. Robinson with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and eight blocks on the night and peaking at the right time. 

  • It’s time for Kemba Walker to move back out of the rotation. When the shot isn’t falling, he isn’t giving you anything. Derrick Rose is out for a bit longer, but I’m not against Immanuel Quickley moving into that starter role and “Deuce” McBride holding the reserve minutes with Alec Burks as another ball-handling option. 

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The TKW Locks of the Day with PrizePicks won, with Evan Fournier exceeding his first-half points projection and Desmond Bane squeaking by his 2.5 projected three-pointers with two late triples sealing the “over” with four.

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Up next: The Knicks travel to California to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, February 5th for the start of a five-game west coast road trip.


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