Here are the takeaways...
- Outside of 10 for 30 shooting from three-point land, New York showed up to play. RJ Barrett shook off his slump and had 22 points, seven boards and four dimes on 18 shots, while Julius Randle was one assist shy of a triple-double.
- Ja Morant was otherworldly, putting up 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists.
- New York had all players available, despite Brunson being listed as questionable heading into the contest. Memphis played without Desmond Bane, Ziaire Williams and Xavier Tillman.
- The Knicks played well in the first, assisting on most of their field goals and defending hard, causing five Grizzlies turnovers.
- Morant set the tone early with six points, three rebounds and four assists on zero misses. And Memphis hit on 3-of-5 of their threes off tip compared to New York’s 1-for-7 start.
- The Knicks' bench went on a tear in response, led by Immanuel Quickley scoring a fast six points, including one cooking Jaren Jackson Jr., a defensive player of the year candidate last season. One possession had Isaiah Hartenstein find Cam Reddish on a backdoor cut, with Hartenstein slipping it to Obi Toppin for a slam. New York led heading into the second, 26-25.
- Unfortunately, the bench regressed, getting sloppy and taking over three minutes to find the net to start the second. The Grizzlies built a 39-32 lead approaching the midway point of the period.
- As the starters returned, the Knicks responded. A Reddish steal and free throws led to maybe the best 10 seconds of the season when a Mitchell Robinson contest on a Morant floater led to a fast break between Brunson, Randle and Barrett where the ball didn’t touch the floor en route to the score.
- Robinson continued making his presence felt with a couple of blocks, one on a Morant floater and one on a Santi Aldama dunk. Brunson and Barrett battled it out with Morant into the half, as Memphis led 54-52 at the break with New York hitting only three of their 16 threes.
- The Grizzlies maintained their lead into the third. Once again, the Knicks struggled to secure defensive rebounds, leading to easy Memphis buckets.
- Morant continued his onslaught. He threw lefty passes and lobs, finishing Vince Carter-esque reverse layups to record a double-double in the third. He built the Grizzlies' lead to as high as 12, as they went into the fourth up 93-83.
- Quickley left the game and didn’t return due to a sore right knee.
- The Knicks cut the Grizzlies' lead to four heading into the midway point of the fourth behind some aggressive Barrett offense, which included a couple of nice dishes.
- A massive Robinson block (his fourth of five to go with 12 points on the evening) with five minutes remaining and the Knicks down three was called a foul and was successfully overturned off a challenge. New York garnered momentum, taking the lead, 112-111, after a Brunson bucket and Reddish three. Reddish finished with 11 points.
- Morant would respond, igniting a back-and-forth with Brunson down the wire. Brunson scored 17 in the fourth but missed the two most important shots -- a pull-up jumper down one and a floater in the final moments that would've tied the game.
The Knicks are back in action on Tuesday night at the Detroit Pistons.