In Game two of the regular season the Knicks welcome Mike Conley and the Memphis Grizzlies to town for the home opener at Madison Square Garden. The Grizzlies are coming off an impressive home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves behind Conley's 24 points. The Knicks are looking to bounce back off of their blowout loss in Cleveland
Here are TKB's "3 Keys to Victory."
- Win the 3 point battle: We'll stick with a similar theme as last time and that's defend the 3-point arc. The Grizzlies are not a 3-point bomb squad but they are trying to increase those looks from last year where they ranked 25th in the league, per basketball-reference.com. The other night they attempted 24 making 11 (45 percent) behind Conley's 4-for-5. James Ennis and JaMychal Green can stretch the floor with length so it will be imperative that Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis extend to the arc defensively.
- Exploit/Limit Z-Bo: New coach David Fizdale has decided to go with a smaller lineup than in the past and that has moved Zach Randolph to the bench in a 6th man role , and the immediate return in the first game provided mixed results. Randolph entered the game the other night with the Grizzlies down 12 and his five points and three rebounds at the back end of the quarter helped close the gap to three before the final horn of the quarter sounded. Randolph can be exploited in transition and if the Knicks can pick up the pace, they can outrun the Grizzlies' bench, which also includes 40-year-old Vince Carter.
- Win the Baldwn/Jennings Matchup: Like Cleveland did the other night, Fizdale was creative with his substitution patterns in getting Conley back in the game to force matchup problems. The Grizzlies also got strong 24 minutes from rookie Wade Baldwin out of Vanderbilt. Baldwin, who is questionable with a knee, is a big, physical guard that can handle back up PG responsibilities and play along side Conley. Brandon Jennings is going to have his hands full with the strength of Conley, Baldwin and Andrew Harrison. If Jennings can help the Knicks out in transition and get the Garden going then that can carry the Knicks to a much-needed home victory.