The first time these two teams played this season feels like it happened on another planet in another lifetime. It was one of the all time Rasheed Wallace games, where (in addition to getting a technical foul called on him at some point during the second quarter) Sheed was scoring at will because Rudy Gay was guarding him, jawing with the refs, jawing with his old Portland buddy Zach Randolph, etc.
The coolest thing about that game, though? The Knicks were still undefeated when they got to FedExForum that night. When they left, they weren’t.
Neither team is undefeated tonight, but that doesn’t make the game any less important.
- We’re going to get the answer to the "who’s going to guard Carmelo Anthony?" question tonight. We’ve gotten the answer to the "who’s going to guard Kevin Durant when Rudy is gone?" question, and the answer to the "who’s going to guard LeBron?" question, but this is the first time these two teams have played post-Rudy. My guess is that we’ll see a blend of Darrell Arthur and Tayshaun Prince doing duty on Melo — who, it has to be said, is currently battling through nagging injuries — and that Melo will probably score a whole lot of points. The key will be to keep him from scoring so many that the Knicks win (see also John Wall’s 47 points on Monday night).
- The demeanor of Zach Randolph would appear to be a wild card. He didn’t start the Celtics game because he was late to shoot around, and then turned in an unusually lackluster performance against the Wizards, at one point intentionally getting himself T’d up. Not the Z-Bo we’ve come to know and love here in Memphis, and I hope it was just a bad game for the big fella. We’ll know more tonight. With every single big the Knicks have on the roster suffering from some sort of injury, he could potentially have a big night against his old team… if he can get into the right headspace.
- Ed Davis has got to stop getting punished inside, period. His strength is an issue, but he’s still athletic enough to make up for being out of position — at least some of the time. He needs to figure out how to do that, ASAP. If he continues to be a liability on D, Lionel will put some SuperGlue on his shorts next time he sits on the bench, and he will find himself in the Lionel Hollins O.J. Mayo Memorial Permanent Doghouse.
- It’s time to find this team’s playoff rotation. I’m not liking the inconsistencies I’ve seen from the bench players over this stretch of iffy basketball; no doubt neither is the coach. It’s time for the guys that are going to step up to, well, step up. It’s now or never.
Tickets: Memphis Grizzlies tickets
His exact words, to Lionel Hollins and the Grizzlies’ bench, in between back-to-back buckets where Sheed just flat out posted Gay up and dropped it right on Rudy’s head, were "You better get him offa me, he’s too little." He had a point. ↩