The New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies were tied heading into the fourth quarter, but Derek Fisher’s group fell short in the end.
The Knicks, without Carmelo Anthony for the second consecutive game due to an ankle injury, fell to the Grizzlies by a final score of 103-95. Despite a team-oriented effort with five players reaching double-digits, some missed second-chance opportunities and lack of organization hurt New York down the stretch.
“We couldn’t make enough winning plays in the fourth quarter,” Fisher said. “Some second-chance opportunities after getting some decent stops…then probably more than that, offensively we couldn’t get organized and get some structure to what we were doing so that we could kind of break them down as a group instead of individually having to do it.”
Another culprit to the Knicks hard-fought loss was the stellar play of Grizzlies forward Marc Gasol. The seven-year veteran and two-time All-Star finished the game with 37 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks in 45 minutes. After the game D-Fish said that despite the big game from Gasol, he wasn’t the only reason New York couldn’t come away with a win.
“Marc’s an All-Star. He had a good night but I don’t think he beat us by himself. I think we had some breakdowns, like I said, defensively in terms of giving up second-chance points,” Derek said. “Offensively in particular in the second half we just couldn’t find a way to break them down together. We were kind of playing late in the clock and individually having to try to do it.”
Of the five players to reach double-figures for the Knicks, guards Aaron Afflalo and Langston Galloway both had solid nights for the starting unit. Afflalo finished with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists and two blocks in 36 minutes while Galloway also chipped in with 11 points and had a game-high 11 rebounds in 37 minutes.
Leading the Knicks in scoring was Kristaps Porzingis with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting, to go along with four boards and a couple assists in 28 minutes. Fisher said that Kristaps had a particularly good night in terms of being aggressive on both ends of the floor and stepping up to the challenge of going against a tough Memphis front-court.
“Kris was aggressive on both ends of the floor and it was good to see. We needed it in order to have a chance tonight. I think he’s still learning how to play against whoever he faces up against, and to be able to do it on both ends against this team takes a lot of energy,” D-Fish said. “I thought he brought that to the game tonight.”
Robin Lopez got into foul trouble early, but still managed to put up six points to go along with a couple rebounds and a couple blocks in only 15 minutes. Jose Calderon had a well-rounded night with eight points, three boards and five assists in 31 minutes.
The reserves had a good game as well for the Knicks, with Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn stepping up when their numbers were called. O’Quinn led the Knicks bench in scoring with 15 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes of action. Williams continued to be reliable with 13 points, four rebounds and an assist in 26 minutes.