When: Saturday, December 21st, 11:00 AM CST
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
What happens when an extremely stoppable force meets an incredibly movable object? Find out as the struggling Memphis Grizzlies take on the struggling-er New York Knicks at the Garden this Saturday! (Seriously, if the Grizz don’t win this one, they’re in even more trouble than we thought.
Expected Starting Lineups
Mike Conley vs Pablo Prigioni
Conley is expected to return to the lineup against the Knicks, and let’s hope so, because this team is a mess without him. Playing without Conley or Gasol is something no Grizzlies fan should be forced to watch. Bayless works pretty well as a scoring 2-guard off the bench, but trying to make him a starting point guard has failed miserably. Meanwhile, with Felton injured, the Knicks will turn to Pablo Prigioni, who, quite honestly, might make more sense at this point, anyway. Felton has been terrible this season, and Prigioni’s pass-first mentality means he should be adept at setting up shots for the likes of Melo and Bargnani.
Tony Allen vs Iman Shumpert
These guys are remarkably similar players – energetic 2-guards with strong perimeter d who aren’t always the best shooters in the world. The difference i that Shumpert is still evolving, and the Knicks – or whoever may acquire him in the future – are still waiting to see what he might become in the future. Allen is more of a known commodity. there are no illusions that he’ll make an All-Star team, but everyone in Memphis appreciates the efforts of the Grindfather. Shumpert has the potential to become a better player than Allen, but Allen looks more comfortable in his own skin for the time being.
Tayshaun Prince vs Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony’s numbers really aren’t that much worse than any other year, save for a small downtick in shooting percentage, but when the Knicks are losing, his flaws became glaring. Last year, when the Knicks finished with the second best record n the Eastern Conference, we all ignored Melo’s many flaws and marveled at his scoring. Now, his negative qulities are shining through as the Knicks linger at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. With all of that said, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that hes a hell of a lot better than Tayshaun Prince.
Advantage: New York
Zach Randolph vs Kenyon Martin
K-Mart was a quality pickup for the Knicks late last season, but now that the dust has settled, he’s one more guy who they have no idea what to do with. the entire Knicks roster is a bunch of guys who sound good in theory (Bargnani, World Peace, Martin), but don’t go together well at all. So, basically, it’s the Isiah era all over again. Meanwhile, Z-Bo continues to be hard to gauge – no one knows what the Grizz can expect from him on a given night, and it’s hard not to think the added pressure that comes from playing without Marc is starting to wear on him. The Grizzlies need a 20-10 from him every night, and he’s not that guy anymore. Still, this is one f the more favorable matchups hell see this season, against the aging, less-explosive-than-before Martin.
Kosta Koufos vs Tyson Chandler
The Knicks are thrilled to have Chandler in the starting lineup again, after the never-ending horror show that was Andrea Bargnani starting for this team. it’s not that Bargnani is a bad player – he’s one of the better offensive centers in the league. but if you’re going to start, you need another big man who can compensate for his weak defense. the Knicks do not have that – although starting Bargnani and Chandler might be interesting, but the Knicks have messed with their lineup enough already. Koufos has continued to struggle, with his rebounding being his only strong suit. Look for Chandler to have a strong game, and show Knicks fans that the team’s anchor is back.
Advantage: New York
J.R. Smith used to be fun like Anchorman, now he’s fun like The Room. No one, anywhere in the world has the slightest idea what Metta world Peace will do on any given night. Beno Udrih is a seemingly decent player who almost always ends up on bad teams, to the point where it can’t just be a coincidence. Tim Hardaway, Jr. has been the one unabashedly bright sot for the Knicks team this season. I had no idea who Toure’ Murry was until Wednesday night. But for whatever flaws the Knicks bench might have I give them the edge over the severely decimated Grizzlies second unit, who will just have to hope Jon Leuer’s threes keep going in.
Advantage: New York