Even though the season opener resulted in a loss, the New York Knicks showcased a valiant effort against the Memphis Grizzlies in a 115-12 defeat in overtime.
At one point, the Knicks were down 19 points to the Grizzlies in the third quarter at the FedExForum, with all the momentum leaning towards star player Ja Morant to get an easy victory on the first game of the regular season.
The Knicks fought back and were able to make a comeback in the fourth quarter. While Julius Randle was the best overall player for the Knicks with a stat line of 24 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists in the season opener, it was Cam Reddish that gave the Knicks an offensive burst in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Knicks forward scored 22 points and grabbed five rebounds, while also focusing on the defensive end by finishing the game with three steals and one block.
What was even more impressive about Reddish’s performance is he scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and hit a clutch 3-point shot to force overtime. With his performance, Reddish certainly made a good impression on head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Ian Begley of SNY reported that Thibodeau was impressed by Reddish and mentioned his defense got him going when speaking to the media during post-game comments.
“I think his defense got him going and then I think he got out into the open floor,” Thibodeau said when evaluating Reddish’s impactful outing in Memphis. “I just thought his shot selection was good, he attacked the rim well, he got some easy buckets. When you get some easy buckets, the game becomes easier. So that was a big plus. And his length, that’s important for us.”
This was the best game Reddish has played in a Knicks uniform, and he took the opportunity given to him, especially with Quentin Grimes being out due to a sore foot.
If Reddish can follow up on his season-opener performance and stay consistent, Thibodeau will have to make a decision about the rotation.
Reddish Getting Encouragement
In the four preseason games, Reddish struggled to shoot the ball and looked out of sync at times.
Part of his struggles could’ve been feeling the need to force things on offense due to Quentin Grimes missing three out of the four preseason games and trying to prove himself to Thibodeau to get consistent rotational minutes.
In the 15.8 minutes he played in the preseason, Reddish averaged 4.3 points and shot 21.4 percent from the field.
His preseason struggles didn’t stop him from continuing to be aggressive. Reddish credited his teammates for instilling confidence in him during the Grizzlies game, in which the forward made nine out of the 16 field goals he attempted and nailed three 3-pointers.
During his post-game comments, Reddish gave his teammates credit for helping him play at ease. “My teammates were encouraging me throughout the game, Julius telling me be aggressive, that goes a long way,” Reddish said.
When asked if he was worried about the uncertainty of his role on the team, Reddish sounded confident when talking about his skills and what he can bring to the table.
“I wasn’t really too worried about it,” Reddish said after just coming off his impressive performance. “I feel like I’ve been doing a pretty good job in practice. I know I can just come in and make an impact. Just try to do anything I can to win, tonight it just happened to be scoring.”
Brunson Compliments Reddish
Knicks’ Jalen Brunson didn’t have a good shooting game but made impactful plays in his first regular season game wearing the blue and orange.
Brunson had a stat line of 15 points, six rebounds, and nine assists, but only made seven of his 18 field goals attempted.
The point guard drew a charge on Ja Morant with three seconds left in the fourth quarter to force overtime and made the pass to Reddish, who tied the game when the Knicks were down three.
Brunson was complimentary of Reddish and wasn’t new to him seeing Reddish produce at a high level.
“He’s capable of doing that, he actually did it to me last year when he had 20 against us (Mavericks),” Brunson said during his post-game comments. “We have a bunch of guys that are capable of that. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, he really helped us out tonight.”