The Knicks showed more resistance and composure in the locker room after Friday night's loss in Memphis than they had in the game. Say this for the Knicks -- they are doing everything together as a team.
It was a collective implosion that led to their 95-85 loss to the Grizzlies, and it took a deliberate and conscious effort to not criticize the referees for what the Knicks thought were many bad whistles. But a few Knicks indicated they owe the Grizzlies some sort of payback next time they play, which is March 27 at the Garden. Of course, they will face many challenges before then, starting with Sunday afternoon's game at the Garden against the Pacers.
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Before Friday's game -- in which the Knicks were charged with four technical fouls and one flagrant foul -- they had handled every challenge with poise, savvy and confidence.
They won their first six games, overcoming a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Spurs on Thursday night in San Antonio. The next night, the Knicks cut a 21-point deficit to eight in Memphis, and they believe they have a togetherness and fight that will take them a long way.
"We're dogs," Rasheed Wallace said. "We're in the foxhole fighting. We're supporting one another. It's not like we're blaming the loss, [like] 'Oh, man, it's [Carmelo Anthony's] fault. Or it's my fault. No, we lost together. [Thursday] night, we won together. We're dogs. We're all sticking together. That's what we do. We've got heart. No matter how much we're down, we're not going to give up until that clock reads zeros."
That belief and attitude comes from all the experience the members of this veteran team have amassed in their lengthy careers. Although the Knicks wouldn't admit it, they probably should have fallen back on all those lessons instead of unraveling amid the whistles in Memphis.
"Emotion is a part of the game," Jason Kidd said. "For the whole team, this is a test we can learn from. This is only Game 7. We'll just chalk this up and remember this situation forever and how to handle it."
Besides losing their cool, the Knicks learned that on some nights, playing Anthony at power forward can be problematic. He can score on just about anybody, but guarding bigger players and having them muscle him definitely takes its toll on the 6-8 traditional small forward.
Anthony spent most of the Memphis game on 7-1 Marc Gasol and was in foul trouble. He went to the bench with 9:05 left in the third quarter after picking up his fourth personal and a technical foul.
Anthony showed some bravado afterward, saying he hopes he's matched up on Gasol in March. It might not happen because the Knicks should have Amar'e Stoudemire back by then. But Anthony maintains he's fine facing much bigger players.
"I don't have no problems guarding them guys down there," Anthony said. "It's just a matter of how the game is going to be called or not."
The Knicks need to improve their rebounding; they're fourth-worst in the league. It might lead to Mike Woodson using Marcus Camby, who didn't play in the last two games. Woodson said he will make some adjustments, but he wouldn't divulge them.
Overall, this game could help the Knicks in the future. But they showed during their 2-1 trip that they are together in their actions, beliefs and commitment.
"We're good," Anthony said. "We're in a great place. I'll take this road trip any day."