Grisly Night for Knicks in Memphis

'Melo gets hurt and Iman Shumpert goes off the reservation.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Eventually, even the Grizzlies tried to stop Shumpert from shooting the ball.

    Upon further review, Mike D'Antoni made a poor choice when he decided to show Iman Shumpert a video of John Starks' performance in Game Seven of the 1994 NBA Finals as a motivational tool.

    We're actually not sure that D'Antoni made that choice on the way to Memphis for Thursday night's game against the Grizzlies, but it seems as plausible an explanation as any other for the game that Shumpert turned in against Memphis.

    Throwing away any pretense of ball distribution and offensive flow, Shumpert put up shots at a furious pace on Thursday and kept shooting even though it was clear that his aim wasn't any truer than Starks' aim on that fateful night in Houston.

    Shumpert finished five of 20 from the floor and added six turnovers for good measure in a performance that served as a giant honking reminder that rookies are far from finished products.

    Shooters having a good night are sometimes referred to as unconscious, but the label fits much better on a night like Shumpert had when he was seemingly unaware that there was an entire team on the court with him.

    As bad as Shumpert was on Thursday, there's a decent chance that he could have missed half as many shots without it making a tremendous difference in the final score.

    The Knicks fell behind by as many as 25 points in the second half and their four-game winning streak went up in smoke by a 94-83 final score.

    The loss was not on Shumpert alone. Amar'e Stoudemire got into foul trouble early and continued his season-long walk in the offensive wilderness with just six points on one of seven shooting, his lowest point output since coming to New York.

    Carmelo Anthony shot well in the first half, but he left the game early in the third quarter with a sprained ankle to go with his already injured wrist, back, hip, knee, tonsils and right eardrum. Some of those are made up, but Anthony appears to be feeling the toll of carrying the team offensively thanks to the endless isolation plays that the team runs for him.

    The defense, so good in the recent wins, wasn't terrible but the torrent of missed shots led to too much Grizzly transition and some fairly grisly transition defense. When all was said and done, the defensive effort was enough to get the job done had the offense not been a total nightmare.

    If Anthony can't play Saturday night in Oklahoma City, there's a pretty good chance that the game gets even uglier than this one.

    Heck, there's a pretty good chance of that happening even if Anthony is in the lineup as long as this team continues to run an offense usually seen in a pick-up game on a team of five guys who are told they will be shot by a sniper if they share the ball with their teammates.

    We knew it was going to be a process, boys and girls, and nights like this are part of the process.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.