Grizzlies Coach Sounds Off on Knicks Following Wild Season Opener

Taylor Jenkins, New York Knicks

Getty Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies talks with head coach Taylor Jenkins while playing the Detroit Pistons.

Opening night of the 2022-23 campaign was truly an adrenaline-induced affair between the New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies, one that was filled to the brim with clutch plays and an ultimate venture into overtime that came down to the wire.

In the end, the hometown Grizzlies came away with the hard-fought victory, downing the Knicks by a final score of 115-112.

Though the final results are certainly an encouraging sight to see for Memphis’ faithful followers, the contest as a whole proved to be a true bright spot for both ball clubs.

At least, it appears that’s what Taylor Jenkins seems to believe, as Parker Fleming of Grizzly Bear Blues reported in an October 19 tweet that the head man praised Wednesday night’s exhibition as being a matchup between “two incredible teams.”

Calling the Knicks an “incredible” team could certainly be seen as a bit of a stretch considering they’ve endured 17 losing seasons since the turn of the century and are coming off their eighth postseason-less campaign from over the past nine years.

Nevertheless, having Jenkins, who just led Memphis to the second-best record in the NBA last season, speak of them in such high regard should be a welcomed compliment for New York.

Knicks Wing ‘Felt Good’ Against Memphis

Though the consensus opinion is likely that the New York Knicks are far from being considered an incredible team, during their opening matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies there were several players on their roster that had top-flight performances, and perhaps the most captivating of them all was put forth by fourth-year wing, Cam Reddish.

After having an incredibly underwhelming 15-game stretch with the Knickerbockers last season upon being acquired by the Atlanta Hawks on January 13, during October 19’s opener the former 10th overall selection received an increased role within the rotation due to the absence of Quentin Grimes.

With this opportunity, Reddish wound up making the most of it, as he finished off the contest with a stellar stat line of 22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block on 60% shooting from the floor and 50% shooting from deep in 28 minutes played.

During the team’s post-game media session, the wing discussed his career-best performance with the Knicks, stating that it felt good to finally show what he can bring to this team when given the opportunity.

“Obviously being traded midway is tough, new group of guys, new everything. Just trying to find my way, be aggressive, be assertive and make the right play,” Reddish said. “… Let me say it like this: I know what I can do. I wanted to make sure I still got it.”

Though he was found coming off the bench, Reddish ended the night as the second-leading scorer on the Knicks behind only Julius Randle’s 24 points and finished as the third-highest scorer overall, with Grizzlies star Ja Morant leading all players with 34.

Morant, Brunson Discusses Controversial Call

The Knicks’ opening night contest against the Grizzlies was an exhilarating bout that needed extra time to come to a resolution. And while it took heroic plays such as Cam Reddish’s last-second three-pointer in the fourth for them to get there, to some, the prolonged contest was the result of a few wonky calls.

In a post-game media session, Memphis star point guard Ja Morant discussed one particular late-game call where with under a second to go in regulation, he made what seemed to be the go-ahead layup that would have clinched a Grizzlies win, but was ultimately called a charge as Knicks guard Jalen Brunson slide in and took the contact that impacted the whistle.

According to Morant, both he and Brunson were convinced that no foul was made on the play.

“(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.”

In the end, the Grizzlies still went on to win the contest, though the call that the two guards believe was a bit suspect made the effort a bit harder and more complex for them to accomplish

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