The Memphis Grizzlies are starting to learn how to play without Zach Randolph, and the man who has stepped up is the one who Randolph essentially replaced last year as the star, Rudy Gay. Gay was dominant in the first three quarters as the Grizzlies dominated the Knicks, and was able to rest for most of the fourth quarter as his team cruised, 94-83, over the Knickerbockers.
The story for the Knicks goes well beyond this game. They lost Carmelo Anthony to a sprained right ankle in the middle of the pivotal third quarter — after which Memphis blew the game open — and he didn't return. He underwent X-rays and the team is anxiously awaiting those results, as they've been terrible when he hasn't been on the floor for them, and he's leading them in scoring and assists (26.6 and 4.5 per game before Thursday).
Gay was phenomenal before and after Anthony got hurt, however, scoring 18 on 8-9 shooting in 18 minutes in the first half, finishing with 26 points and five boards. O.J. Mayo also came off the bench on fire, finishing with 18 points on 7-12 shooting, 4-7 from deep. Marc Gasol finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists to go with phenomenal defense on the Knicks' bigs, piling up four blocks.
Bill Walker and 'Melo both had 14 for the Knicks, and Amar'e Stoudemire's struggles were likely the dooming factor in this one; the big man finished with just six points on 1-7 shooting. Rookie guard Iman Shumpert also proved that he has no conscience whatsoever, finishing with 12 points while hoisting up an astounding 20 shots, 15 in the first half.