NBA

New York Knicks Stat Monkey Brief: Knicks/Grizzlies (11/16/12)

The Knicks took down San Antonio, but it doesn't get much easier against a surprising 6-1 Grizzlies' squad.

In the midst of six consecutive wins, including a blowout of the defending champion Heat. Coming off a huge road win against a Western Conference juggernaut. Arguably the biggest surprise in the NBA through two weeks.

I’m obviously describing the Knicks, right? They improved to 6-0 last night after overcoming a 12-point fourth quarter deficit in San Antonio.

But don’t sleep on the other NBA team with those same credentials. After back-to-back wins over Miami and OKC, the Memphis Grizzlies have won six straight to improve to 6-1.

Something’s gotta give tonight in Memphis, as the Knicks take on the Grizz in perhaps the marquee game of the young NBA season.

Turnovers

To close out their three-game road trip on a high note, the Knicks must continue to take care of the ball. They lead the NBA in turnover rate, averaging only 9.9 turnovers per 100 possessions. Memphis, however, has the third best turnover rate in the league at 12.0%, better than that of any opponent the Knicks have faced thus far. If the Knicks can win the turnover battle for the seventh time in seven games, they have a great chance to remain unbeaten.

Rebounding

The Knicks keep winning despite being outrebounded in all six games so far. Their defensive rebounding percentage is a paltry 72.7%, which ranks 19th in the NBA. Tonight they better crash the boards against a Memphis squad boasting the NBA’s third best offensive rebounding percentage at 31.0%. If Zach Randolph, the NBA’s leading rebounder with 14.0 boards per game, owns the offensive glass, the Knicks could be in for a long night.

Pace

The Knicks rank 24th in the NBA with an average of only 91.2 possessions per 48 minutes (compared to a league average of 92.4). However, they have shown the ability to win games regardless of pace. NYK won by 22 in Philadelphia despite a sluggish 88.3 pace factor, and they defeated the Mavericks by 10 at MSG while maintaining a blistering 98.0 pace factor. Meanwhile, the only loss for the Grizz came in their fastest paced game, a season opening defeat at the hands of the Clippers. An up-tempo playing style tonight in Memphis could be to the Knicks’ advantage.