The Grizzlies’ Matchup Nightmare Blows Up The Knicks; Portland’s Duo Outshines James Harden

By: 11.17.12
Zach Randolph (photo. Nike)

Zach Randolph (photo. Nike)

One day after New York stayed as the NBA’s last unbeaten team by being selfless and smart (and ridiculously accurate from range), Memphis usurped the Knicks as the NBA’s best team right now by luring them in, then springing the trap. Start spreading the news: Memphis, owner of a seven-game win streak, is mowing down the league’s best teams like the hero of a Tarantino film. Just 10 percent of the season in the Griz are 7-1, but it’s still apt to be cautious about being too effusive with praise. Still, how can anyone deny these signature wins the Griz have just rattled off in their last three games: an 18-point win over Miami, a 10-point win in Oklahoma City and Friday night’s 105-95 win over New York that wasn’t as close as the score looks. The linchpin has been power forward Zach Randolph (20 points, 15 boards), who’s averaging 14.1 boards per game this season. By sticking Rudy Gay (17 points) on Carmelo Anthony (20 points, five turnovers and five big fouls), it shielded Z-Bo from ‘Melo’s quickness. There were a few questionable calls that went against New York but they flipped a switch we hadn’t seen since last season, turning a team that moved the ball so well (and with such a newfound, level-headed composure) into a stop-and-stare offense. Well Anthony got a T, Rasheed Wallace dusted off the cobwebs to pick up a T, and Mike Woodson got one, too. There was a brief rally to close it out, but the Knicks shot themselves in the foot by losing their head in this one. While the Knicks were falling behind by 20, Marc Gasol continued to be a revelation with his footwork, getting 24 points. Who needs Hakeem Olajuwon‘s lessons when you could just study with Marc Gasol? … The good news was Philly didn’t shoot 29 percent again in its 99-93 win over Utah. The bad news is that even with a feel-good win, nothing will fix the void left by Andrew Bynum at center — still. Bynum has been classified as simply out indefinitely. His knee hasn’t responded to treatment. Jrue Holiday continues to ball out in this unbalanced offense with 26 points. Tyrone Corbin took DeMarre Carroll out of mothballs for Utah and it, quite literally, worked perfectly: He didn’t miss a shot all night for his 17 points. … Brook Lopez talked with us today about his love for comic books, among other things. To be honest we’d never thought about having a turntable for our car in our garage like he has at the Barclays Center, but Lopez makes it sound pretty dope. … Like Lopez, Roy Hibbert can’t shake his enigma status this season. They each have No. 1-potential contracts, but naturally are more comfortable being complementary in an offense. Last night, Hibbert changed the luck of his so-far horrifying season with 14 points and eight boards, but most importantly, he shot seven free throws. It’s far above his middling 1.7 per game average that befits a backup shooting guard, not a 7-footer. Still, baby steps: His three buckets in the fourth quarter were big to push Indiana’s lead out of Dallas’ reach in the 103-83 win after going just 1-of-6 in the third quarter from the field. … Hit the jump to hear about Damian Lillard’s takeover. …

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