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Grizzlies vs. Knicks Preview: Advantages Hinging On Injury Statuses

The New York Knicks enter Memphis in complete disarray, which should make for an easy win for the Grizzlies. However, things are rarely easy in the NBA, as was reflected by the trouncing the Grizzlies suffered at the hands of the Denver Nuggets.

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Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
2014/15 NBA Season
24-9 (13-4 home)
5-31 (2-16 road)
January 5, 2015
FedExForum, Memphis, TN
7:00 PM CDT
Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Jose Calderon
Courtney Lee SG Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tony Allen SF Carmelo Anthony
Jon Leuer PF Jason Smith
Marc Gasol C Cole Aldrich
2014/15 Advanced Stats
93.9 (27th) Pace 92.41 (29th)
105.7 (11th) OEff 100.2 (24th)
102.4 (11th) DEff 108.9 (28th)
49.5 (19th) RebR 48.5 (27th)

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Injury Report

Memphis: Zach Randolph - Questionable (Knee); Beno Udrih - Questionable (Leg)

New York: Iman Shumpert - Out (Shoulder); Carmely Anthony - Questionable (Knee); Andrea Bargnani - Questionable (Calf); Amar'e Stoudemire - Questionable (Knee)

Recently for the Knicks

After losing eleven in a row, it's tough to tell how much of a pulse the 2014-15 Knicks actually have left. Carmelo Anthony has apparently been playing with a knee injury, and the Knicks are considering shutting him down for the season at some point. The triangle offense (what little of it the Knicks have actually run) has been a disaster. The Knicks are just going to have to tough it out the rest of the season and press reset for next season. Finding players that actually fit the triangle system would be a start.

Recently for the Grizzlies

The Grizzlies got steamrolled by the Nuggets in their last contest, and head coach Dave Joerger was ejected in the process. Joerger is the first Grizzlies coach to be ejected from a game since Hubie Brown in 2004. Missing key players (Zach Randolph and Tony Allen) has been tough for the Grizzlies, but they managed to stay afloat without both of them and are still making do without Randolph, who has been out for seven straight games.

Three Things to Watch

1) Matchup Advantages - The Grizzlies should have matchup advantages all over the court against the Knicks. The Knicks have nobody that can stop Gasol on a regular basis, and that should enable him to expose his defender all night. The one-two perimeter punch of Mike Conley and Courtney Lee should play a huge role in pushing the Grizzlies to an easy victory. If Carmelo doesn't play, the Knicks probably don't hold an advantage against the Grizzlies at any single position.

2) Which injured players will give it a go? - Key players have missed games recently for both squads, and Carmelo Anthony or Zach Randolph playing would certainly alter the game. If Melo plays, Tony Allen will likely shadow him all night. Problems might pop up when Melo is used as a small ball power forward, but the Knicks' lack of firepower at other positions should make that potential situation less threatening. If Randolph plays, the Grizzlies should dominate the paint and the boards. If neither plays, the advantage still lies with the Grizzlies.

3) Could Jordan Adams and Jarnell Stokes get minutes? - Both rookies got good run in the Grizzlies' last contest against the Nuggets, because the game was a blowout. This game has the potential to be the same way, except this time it should be in the Grizzlies' favor. If that happens, Adams and Stokes should both see solid court time, which is important for their continued development.

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