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Houston Rockets Game Day: Not Your Father’s Knicks

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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The Houston Rockets game day features the squad on the final game of a back to back series and the opportunity to do something they haven’t had enough of lately which is to win consecutive games.

While the Knicks have been abysmal they can’t be taken for granted as they’ve contended late in many games. So, the Rockets can’t afford to take the night off even in the disheveled state the Knicks enter tonight. Ideally coach Kevin McHale can inspire his team to build a sizable margin in the first half and then utilize the remainder of the game to work on play sets and schemes especially for the new recruits. Josh Smith had arguably his best game last night in Cleveland, so this match offers him the opportunity to integrate himself even further.

These are not your father’s New York Knicks and while Madison Square Garden still holds intrigue and awe the hallowed arena isn’t enough to help the struggling Knicks who are mired at the very bottom of the Association. The Knicks have lost ten in a row at home and 13 straight games. Now they have even fewer hands to help, given the injury situation (Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani are all out) and with the trade lost key players J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.

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It’s hard to find much to compare or analyze given this should not be much of a contest, but it’s one of 82 so here are the necessary stats:

Team Ranks:

Offense: New York rank 25th and Houston rank 19th

Defense: New York rank 28th and Houston rank 2nd

Net: New York rank 30th and Houston rank 9th

Pace:  New York rank 29th and Houston rank 8th

Efficiency: New York rank 27th with a minus -13.7 while Houston rank 14th with a plus +1.9

Points Per Game: New York rank 27th scoring 93.1 points per game and Houston rank 16th scoring 101.1

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Notable Stats:

  • Last time out James Harden scored 36 points against New York and added 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
  • The Knicks are on a 13-game losing streak and have lost 10 in a row at home
  • Knicks are 29th in rebounding, free throws made
  • Knicks are 28th in blocks and defensive rebounding
  • Knicks are 30th in free throw attempts

Walking Wounded:

New York:

Carmelo Anthony: Out indefinitely with knee injury

Amare Stoudemire: Out indefinitely with knee injury

Andrea Bargnani: Out indefinitely with calf injury

Houston:

Terrence Jones: remains out with nerve damage to his leg

Key Match-up:

Based on so many injuries to key players and the absence of Carmelo it’s a matter of scanning the roster to see who is feasibly a real concern. Jose Calderone is still a capable pass first point guard but shouldn’t pose any problems for Beverley as long as he plays him to drive instead of allowing him to shoot threes.

Second year player Tim Hardaway Jr. has progressed but isn’t up to the task of outperforming Harden.

Cole Aldrich has been playing better lately and Quincy Acy will always bring energy however the reality is they provide a perfect opportunity for Dwight Howard and Josh Smith to continue to work on their timing and further gelling of Smith into the flow of Houston’s schemes.

The Pick:

The odds makers have the game going Houston’s way by 12 points. Personally I’d say as long as the Rockets don’t get caught in the trap game mentality this should be a blow-out. McHale might want to use this as perfect time to test some specific sets he wants to run.

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