Did anyone really expect the Knicks to go 82-0? They were bound to lose eventually, and Memphis is looking like one of (if not the) best team in the Western Conference. However, there were some highs and lows that I saw last night, and I would like to point them out.
The highest of the highs was Rasheed Wallace, who played 24 minutes and led the scoring off the bench with 13 points. When he said he was coming back from retirement to teach “young fella’s how to play, inside and out,” he wasn’t kidding. I will be the first to admit I was wrong about Wallace; I questioned the decision to sign him in the off season, as well as the amount of playing time he has gotten. But I was wrong, and the Knicks are looking pretty wise for signing him. Wallace brings a low post presence to the table, which is something that the Knicks lack, as well as the ability to stretch the defense with his 3PT shooting.
Now, for the lows. Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler sat most of the 3rd quarter with four and five fouls, respectively. This cannot happen for New York if they are to continue winning games. J.R. Smith struggled offensively last night, so without Anthony on the floor the Knicks lacked a go-to scorer. Chandler is the defensive general, and Wallace can’t play center effectively for a long period of time.
Finally, the lowest of the lows: the referees. I am still wondering how it is that Anthony can get bashed on seemingly every drive to the hoop, but only take five FTs in 30 minutes on the court. Chandler, Anthony, Smith, and Coach Mike Woodson all received technical fouls, three of which were in the 3rd quarter. The Knicks were outscored 31-18 in the 3rd quarter.
“The third quarter got away from us,” Anthony said. “Techs, they made some shots. We missed some shots. They got the momentum, kind of slowed the game down. We made a run and cut it to eight, but they already had the momentum going, so we were just in an uphill battle from there.”
This won’t be the last time the Knicks meet Memphis, however. “One thing we’re saying,” Wallace said. “They’ve got to come to the Garden.” Be sure to mark that one on your calendars.