The New York Knicks dropped their season opener to the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime, and Ja Morant doesn’t think it should’ve even come to that.
It came down to the wire in the closing minutes of the game, and Knicks forward Cam Reddish managed to drain a game-tying three pointer that would send the game into overtime.
Morant, with under a second to go in the game, made what seemed like the go-ahead layup that would’ve almost certainly secured a Grizzlies win. However, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson managed to slide in and take a charge to send the game into overtime.
After the game, Morant revealed to reporters there shouldn’t have been an overtime period and that Brunson told him it shouldn’t have been called a charge.
Block or Charge?
On frequent rewatches, it does seem like a call that could’ve gone either way, and in the end it still worked out for the Grizzlies.
Morant said after the game that Brunson told him the play should’ve been a blocking foul.
“(Jalen Brunson) even told me, that’s crazy,” said Morant, as reported by Memphis News writer Damichael Cole. “He told me I jumped around him. We wasn’t even supposed to play that extra five minutes.”
Morant made the shot on the play, and he would’ve had a chance to add an extra point via a free throw, so it would’ve been a three point lead with under a second to go.
At the end of the day, it’s just the first game of what’s going to be a long season, but the Knicks will need every win they can get going forward. As of right now, they are still projected to be a team that competes in the play-in tournament, and that cuts off at the 10th seed. This is a much-improved roster from last season, but there are no guarantees in the NBA.
On the bright side, there are some encouraging signs to take away from the first game.
Brunson and Randle Looked Good
The Knicks went out and got a point guard this offseason that would anchor the position for years to come, and it looks like they were able to accomplish that.
Brunson finished with nine assists and zero turnovers, showing he can take care of the ball and make plays for his teammates, including the assist on Reddish’s game-tying three.
Randle put up 24/11/6 on 9-16 shooting, and if that type of efficiency is here to stay, then the star forward could find himself back on the All-Star team.
RJ Barrett had a disaster of a game in the opener, and he likely won’t have many repeat like performances like that. He hit just three of his 18 shots, including missing all six of his shots from beyond the arc. Despite that, the Knicks only lost by three points, so they showed they can be resilient even if one of their stars is having an off night.
If the three of them get going on any given the night, the Knicks can be a difficult team to beat.