Knicks stave off Grizzlies on the road in 106-94 win

NBA: New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies sure made things interesting against the New York Knicks, as they led at the half and created plenty of discomfort with how poorly they made the Knicks look despite being undermanned. While trying to hang on without star point guard Jalen Brunson, New York hoped to get back in the win column, but with a stellar second half, they were able to hang on for their 23rd win of the season.

Fueled by an incredible performance from Isaiah Hartenstein, the Knicks were able to overcome sloppy turnovers to close it out in a 116-94 win in Memphis.

Knicks Able to Overcome Slow Start to Take Down Grizzlies

NBA: New York Knicks at Memphis Grizzlies
Jan 13, 2024; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Xavier Tillman (2) leans into New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks were aided by an incredible performance from Isaiah Hartenstein, who was able to not only collect 12 points but also bring down 20 rebounds. Hartenstein has been incredible since filling in for Mitchell Robinson, as he has averaged 11.7 rebounds a game in his last 13 games. The center has proven to be highly valuable for the Knicks on both sides of the ball, as defensively he was able to contribute four blocks and two steals in New York’s 12-point victory against Memphis.

He was part of a Knicks’ masterclass on defense, as they held the Grizzlies to just 94 points on the night, and a big part of that was OG Anunoby’s efforts on that end. The two-way wing had four blocks, and on offense, he gave the Knicks 18 points on 15 shots on the night. The Knicks are now 6-1 since trading for him, as they continue their upward surge in the Eastern Conference, which looks to be deeper than it’s been in years past, so seeding becomes even more pivotal for home-court advantage.

Miles McBride looked to remind the Knicks that he can handle point guard duties, finishing second on the team in points (19) this evening on 10 shots, draining four of his seven attempts from downtown. He’s looked like a much-improved shooter as of late and was also a team-best +11 on the court. He would share the team lead for assists tonight with Julius Randle (5) and also added six rebounds, a block, and a steal as well.

NBA: New York Knicks at Dallas Mavericks
Jan 11, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Grant Williams (3) looks to pass as New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) and New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) defend during the first half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks were led on offense by Julius Randle, who gave the Knicks 24 points on 21 shots, bringing down 11 rebounds and adding five assists, but he also led the team in a dubious category that proved to be a team-wide issue. Randle’s six turnovers would be part of an issue for the Knicks, as they would have 22 turnovers as a team and give the Grizzlies added opportunities. Each starter tonight had multiple turnovers, and the only player on the court who didn’t have a turnover tonight was Quentin Grimes.

Other notable performers include Donte DiVincenzo who had 13 points and four steals despite poor efficiency, and Malachi Flynn stepped up for nine points on five shots in his 10 minutes of play. Josh Hart recorded eight points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals, but the lack of scoring from the bench wasn’t as much about their poor play as much as it was a matter of not having Jalen Brunson to keep McBride with the second unit.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Knicks hung on and improved to 23-16 on the season, as they’ll take on the Orlando Magic on Monday at Madison Square Garden.