In their one and only annual trip to Madison Square Garden, the Grizzlies are set to face the streaking Knicks. They'll have a tough time doing so without defensive (and offensive) anchor Marc Gasol.
I see Gasol's absence hurting the Grizzlies in three major ways in this one:
1- His communication quarterbacking the defense will be sorely missed as the Knicks shooters will have a field day exploiting missed or late closeouts from the Grizzlies defenders.
2- As a pseudo extension of number 1, Marc's attentiveness to the little things is paramount to what the Grizzlies do defensively, as it allows them to gamble and create havoc in the passing lanes. Without adequate expectation of backup on the front-line, a milisecond of doubt is all it takes for our guys to keep the refs' whistles active, spelling foul trouble for everybody.
3- The lack of inside presence imposed by his post play on the offensive end will allow the Knicks to have free rein to keep at least four shooters on the floor at all times, just as they like. Zbo alone won't be enough to punish them for going small, as he hasn't been his dominant self lately. Even if he was, his unwillingness/inability to effectively pass out of double teams would enable the Knicks to dictate the game on their terms.
We'll need our good friend Grit n' Grind on our side, tonight!