Knicks Return to MSG for Wednesday Night Tilt Against Grizzlies
1. For the second straight game, the Knicks hit the hardwood without their two leading scorers in the lineup on Monday night. On the second of a back-to-back, New York fell to Indiana 115-97 despite a 32-point fourth quarter. The Pacers jumped out to a strong start with 66 first half points and never looked back in the home victory. Willy Hernangomez recorded 14 points and 10 rebounds in nearly 17 minutes, all of which occurred in the second half. Michael Beasley finished with 13 points, Doug McDermott added 12, and Damyean Dotson grabbed seven rebounds.
2. Kristaps Porzingis missed his second consecutive game on Monday but he’s listed as probable for tonight’s tilt against the Grizzlies. The 7-3 power forward suffered a sprained ankle last Wednesday while facing the Heat at MSG. He’s also been dealing with an illness that occurred prior to the matchup against Orlando on Sunday afternoon. Through 23 games, Porzingis owns a top 5 spot in the NBA in scoring at 25.8 points per game and ranks No. 2 in blocks at 2.11 per outing.
3. Tim Hardaway Jr. was also sidelined on Monday night in Indiana. The shooting guard was a late scratch against Orlando due to a stress injury in his lower left leg. After missing Monday’s contest, the team announced he will begin a treatment and rehabilitation plan. Hardaway Jr. will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Prior to the injury, Hardaway Jr. was off to a career year, averaging 17.8 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.1 steals in 34.1 minutes of court time. To counter the loss of Hardaway Jr., head coach Jeff Hornacek placed rookie Damyean Dotson in the starting lineup against Orlando and Indiana.
4. Knicks second-year big man, Willy Hernangomez is very familiar with the All-Star across the floor tonight. Hernangomez teamed up with Marc Gasol in the 2016 Rio Olympics for the Spanish national team and the two players captured the bronze in the FIBA EuroBasket this past summer. Last April, Hernangomez went head-to-head against Gasol in the second meeting between the two teams and he recorded a double-double (11points, 10 rebounds).
5. This summer, Memphis shifted direction with its roster by allowing Zach Randolph to sign with the Kings and Tony Allen moving to New Orleans. Both players were synonymous with the “grit and grind” mentality of the organization. The Grizzlies expected to make another playoff run behind Mike Conley and Gasol manning in the middle. However, Conley suffered a left Achilles injury last month and the team fired head coach David Fizdale on November 27. Memphis looked like a playoff contender early in the season with a 5-1 mark but an 11-game losing skid before Monday’s contest pushed them near the bottom of the Western Conference. The Grizzlies snapped the long drought with a 95-92 win over the Minnesota on Monday and enter tonight’s contest with an 8-15 overall record.