There are some arenas in the NBA that make a game feel like a big deal, whether it’s a random regular season game in December or a playoff game where both teams are fighting off elimination.
Boston’s T.D. Banknorth Garden, Chicago’s United Center and Portland’s Rose Garden are usually filled with fans that are ready to bring it no matter what and do their best to affect the game in any way that they can.
Better than all of those experiences is the one you get at the World’s Most Famous arena. Madison Square Garden in New York brings some old-school sight lines and the opportunity to play on the biggest stage in the biggest city for at least one night.
On Wednesday night, the Memphis Grizzlies take their annual trip to The Garden to play a suddenly rejuvenated Knicks team. The Knicks battled off a late-season swoon and demolished the Celtics in Boston last night and are looking to solidify their hold on the East’s 2nd seed.
Per usual, the Knicks go as Carmelo Anthony goes. Anthony is enjoying one of his finest seasons and has recently recovered from an injury. Anthony’s return has been almost directly tied to the Knicks’ resurgence.
For all of the work that Anthony does on offense, Tyson Chandler does as much on defense. It wasn’t so long ago that Chandler was regarded as a bad contract, a forgotten man that came off the bench of the Charlotte Bobcats during their only playoff season in team history. Then he was almost traded to the Thunder, but they flunked him on his physical. After that season, the Bobcats sent him to Dallas for barely anything of any type of value.
It was there that Chandler’s career was revived and he was the Mavericks’ anchor of that franchise’s only World Championship team.
The Grizzlies enter the game off a frustrating loss on Monday to the Wizards and hope to avoid an extended down stretch while they need to be jockeying for position in the deep and talented Western Conference.
But it doesn’t come tonight. The Knicks are playing well and have playoff position of their own to focus on. The Grizzlies already won the first game back in Memphis so they won’t be sneaking up on anyone either.