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Houston Rockets Trounce Knicks in another offensive showcase

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) controls the ball as Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) defends during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) controls the ball as Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) defends during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) dribbles the ball as Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center. The Rockets won 130-103. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Game 2 of the Houston Rockets preseason resulted in another 130 point scoring showcase, and gave credence to the belief this team will feature a top offense in 2016-17.

Most pundits were reserved in their praise of the Houston Rockets initial preseason game citing the opponent.

But, with the New York Knicks in town it represented a bonafide NBA team. Rockets fans were anxious to see how the offensive juggernaut displayed versus the Sharks would translate against a viable opponent.

The result was another 130 point deluge coupled with another victory.

Much had been made of Derrick Rose’s comments the Knicks were one of the Association’s “Super Teams”.

But without Joakim Noah in the line-up New York’s defense was suspect highlighting there is plenty of work still to be done by Jeff Hornacek’s staff.

Next: Starting Line-ups and reserves who played

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York City FC defender Ethan White (3) dribbles the ball during the third quarter as Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) defends at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

As projected in the pregame it was known the Knicks Joakim Noah and Rockets Patrick Beverely would not dress. In an educated guess I assumed Porzingis might get moved to center andin that event one of Lou Amundson Kyle O’Quinn or Marshall Plumlee would start.  Coach Hornacek did move Porzingis around and started O’Quinn. Eric Gordon was my projection to step into Beverley’s shoes which proved to be an accurate guess.

Both starting line-ups played significant minutes with the Knicks bench playing better team defense. Granted by the time these players were on the court the game was well in hand for the Rockets.

Coaches Jeff Hornacek and Mike D’Antoni did utilize their benches and training camp invites primarily in the second half.

Starting Line-Ups:

Houston Rockets:

Point Guard: James Harden

Shooting Guard: Eric Gordon

Small Forward: Trevor Ariza

Power Forward: Ryan Anderson

Center: Clint Capela

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) dunks the ball during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Rockets Reserves who played (bracketed players did not):

Point Guard: Tyler Ennis, Pablo Prigioni, Bobby Brown,

Shooting Guard: K.J. McDaniels, Gary Payton II, Isaiah Taylor

Small Forward: Sam Dekker, Corey Brewer, (P.J. Hairston)

Power Forward: Kyle Wiltjer, Montrezl Harrell

Center: Nene Hilario, (Chinanu Onuaku)

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks guard Sasha Vujacic (18) dribbles the ball as Houston Rockets guard Gary Payton II (0) defends during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks:

Point Guard: Derrick Rose

Shooting Guard:  Courtney Lee

Small Forward: Carmelo Anthony

Power Forward: Kristaps Porzingis

Center: Kyle O’Quinn

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) brings the ball up the court during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Knicks

Reserves who played (bracketed players did not):

Point Guard: Brandon Jennings, Chasson Randle

Shooting Guard: Sasha Vujacic, Justin Holiday, Ron Baker

Small Forward: Lance Thomas, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Maurice Ndour, JP Tokoto

Power Forward: Marshall Plumlee, (Lou Amundson)

Center: Willy Hernangomez

Next: Scoring and Video Highlights

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) attempts to steal the ball from Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Scoring By Quarter:

pic.twitter.com/QWXReKTuNY

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) October 5, 2016

First:

The Rockets jumped out to a 27-15 first quarter lead.

Second:

This was the Rockets strongest quarter as they built their lead via a 41-27 frame.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 8 points, and Harden caught fire.

Third:

New York finally played up to their competition staying within a point of the Rockets: 36-35

Finally the Knicks seemed to find their legs, albeit primarily with their reserve unit.

Fourth:

The two sides played to a draw in the final frame each scoring 26 points.

Next: Box Score and Stats

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose (25) attempts to get control of the ball away from Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) during the first half at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Difficult to find a category the Houston Rockets didn’t win.  ESPN provides a keen look of these categories as highlighted in the tweets below.

Box Score:

pic.twitter.com/KCVLSmzx6u

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) October 5, 2016

Field Goal Percent, 3 Point Percent, Turnovers:

pic.twitter.com/j1iPMpSMIj

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) October 5, 2016

Turnovers, Rebounds:

pic.twitter.com/vwASSZedl8

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) October 5, 2016

Defensive and Hustle Stats:

pic.twitter.com/6KVzAESvBk

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) October 5, 2016

Shooting Stats:

pic.twitter.com/4vMVwDkbKV

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) October 5, 2016

Next: Top Performances

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Best Rockets:

James Harden: Whether you call him the new point guard or just James he’s showcasing he means business. Granted it’s just two games, but the Beard looks sharp and better still he’s making a visible effort on both ends. In fairness, now that he doesn’t have to carry the entire offensive load he has something left for the opposite end of the floor.

28 points, 6 rebounds, 11 assists. Harden shot 63% from the field  (7 of 11), 83.3% from the line  (10 of 12) and hit 50% of his deep balls (4 of 8). Most impressively, he was a plus +28.

Best Reserve:

 KJ McDaniels: the youngster continues to showcase his new skill set driving the lanes hard, cutting to the basket frequently and even looking better on his outside shot attempts.  Beyond the fact McDaniels appear to have D’Antoni and Harden’s attention he’s maintained his stellar defense. Although Ryan Anderson had a night at the 3 point office the nod goes  KJ  because Anderson chose to lose the ability to raise his arms in defense of a unicorn on fire. Oh, and he also garnered the 5 and 7 spot on the NBA top 10 plays.

9 points, 3 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 steal, and 2 blocks. He shot over 50% from the field and even hit a three pointer. Best though was his plus +15 with his closest bench rival garnering +5 in almost a third of the playing time.

More from Space City Scoop

Best Opponent:

Kristaps Porzingis: The sophomore was spectacular particularly during a segment in the game when Ryan Anderson and he went mano a mano in a 3 point shoot out which the youngster won.

22 points, 4 rebounds (1 offensive), steal and 2 blocks. Most impressively he shot 72% from the field and blistered the basket going 5 of 7 from deep for 83.3%. WOW.

Next: Things we learned

Notables:

  • James Harden while posting yet another double-double reminded H-Town he’s still a lethal scorer.
  •  KJ McDaniels has quickly become a coveted target for Harden who recognizes the easy assists he’ll tally with lobs to the youngster.
  • While the Rockets took and made the second most 3 point shots in the Association in 2015-16 they ranked 19 in percent.  With shooters on the squad who are skilled in this role the Rockets look to make a jump up the ladder in this regard. Houston shot 47% in the game.
  • For a brief spell in the game Ryan Anderson and Kristaps Porzingis got into a tit for tat 3 point scoring barrage.
  • Noah will definitely help the Knicks defensively, but Hornacek has numerous issues to address beyond what Joakim can do. Specifically the starting 5 need work as the  top plus/minus players were Porzingis and Courtney Lee at minus -19..
  • Conversely the Rockets are demonstrating exactly how difficult they’ll be able to defend with their offensive versatility.
  • Hype surrounding Harden and projected double digit assists appears reasonable, albeit it’s just been 2 games.
  • Another area of strength for the Houston Rockets continues to be the production of their bench.
  • Alternatively, this appears to be an area of weakness for the Knicks.

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Next: Motiejunas contract expires - now what?

The Rockets are currently en route to China for 2 games versus the Pelicans.   Sunday, October 9th and Wednesday October 12th are the game dates.

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