Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points and J.R. Smith was mostly good, but the New York Knicks' early-game struggles continued Saturday with a 95-87 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Despite coach Mike Woodson's best efforts to have his team prepared for a noon start, Memphis simply held the paint for 48 minutes and didn't let up.
If Woodson hoped to coax some extra energy out of his roster by holing them up in a hotel -- with a curfew, no less -- prior to Saturday's early start, it didn't seem to work. The Grizzlies came out and took a 17-8 lead roughly eight minutes into the game, consistently dominating in the paint even against New York's biggest lineups.
Really, the numbers say it all in this one. Memphis held a 56-29 advantage on the boards while outscoring their opponents 60-28 in the paint. The Knicks only committed seven turnovers, but their inability to corral rebounds allowed Memphis enough extra opportunities to take more shots despite having nine more giveaways.
Anthony, Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. were actually pretty good in this one for New York, combining for 62 points on 24-of-47 (51 percent) shooting, but they couldn't overcome the problems in the paint. Andrea Bargnani, Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire combined for 10 rebounds in 72 minutes of playing time. Those are the Knicks' biggest players.
Meanwhile, Zach Randolph put up 25 points and 15 rebounds in 38 minutes of playing time, all on his own. Kosta Koufos came close to a double-double, too, recording 10 points and nine rebounds in 16 minutes. Mike Conley had a mediocre game, shooting 4-of-18 from the floor, but the Grizz didn't seem to miss a beat.
For New York, Saturday is just the latest early-game debacle for this roster. It's become a bit of an ongoing theme in the Knicks' turbulent season, which explained Woodson's decision to try something different with the team on Friday night. However, as the losses keep piling up, it will be harder to simply pin this stuff on unusual tip-off times.
The win improves Memphis to 11-15 this season. The Grizzlies are actually 6-5 on the road, but just 5-10 at FedExForum. New York drops to 8-18.