The Grizzlies finished fourth in the Western Conference last year, but this year they’re off to the best start in the NBA.
They’ve already beaten the Miami Heat, the New York Knicks, and the Oklahoma City Thunder during their season opening 7-1 run. The Knicks were their latest victims as the Grizzlies put them down 105-95 Saturday night.
The game was pretty even throughout the first half, but in the third quarter the Grizzlies went off, outscoring New York 31-18. Memphis was lead by Zach Randolph, who put up another impressive double double with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Marc Gasol chipped in an additional 24 points and seven rebounds to represent the teeth in the Grizzlies’ offensive attack.
New York and Memphis were statistically an even match throughout. New York had 34 rebounds, 13 turnovers, six blocked shots, seven steals, while also shooting 51 percent from the field. Memphis had 35 rebounds, 14 turnovers, six blocked shots, seven steals and shot 49 percent from the field. This game was not determined by talent or execution. It was determined by composure.
The Knicks had three technical fouls and one flagrant foul, which eventually determined the game. These fouls not only cost the Knicks points and possessions, they also disrupted the New York offensive flow of the game. This changed the focus for the Knick players from the Grizzlies to the refs.
New York has a talented squad this year, but they also have a number of players known for immaturity on and off the court. Guys like J.R. Smith, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, and even Carmelo Anthony have all been known for attitude issues in the past. They also have a habit of losing their cool and picking up silly technical fouls. This is exactly what cost them the game Friday night.
The Knicks may have the talent to compete for the Eastern Conference this year, but they certainly don’t have the composure. Unfortunately for the Knicks, the playoffs are often determined just as much by poise as talent.
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