Houston Rockets Spoil Knicks’ New Years’ Eve
By Ben Casey
The Knicks dominated the first quarter, but James Harden’s historic triple-double was too much for New York.
The night before the this game, Isaiah Thomas went for 52 points on 26 shots in a Boston Celtics win. The media loved it and took the spotlight off of James Harden for the night despite his triple-double in his team’s thrashing of the Los Angeles Clippers. It seems that the Beard was upset by this, and was not to be outdone. The next night, he punished the New York Knicks, going for 53 points on 26 shots, while adding 17 assists and 16 rebounds compared to Thomas’s 0 assists and 2 boards the night before.
Other than Harden’s unbelievable stat line of 53-17-16, the most surprising part of this game was the fact that the Knicks kept it competitive. The Houston Rockets only won by 7 despite the Beard doing something no player has ever done. If anything, it speaks to how sorely Patrick Beverley‘s and Clint Capela‘s defense is missed.
The Knicks controlled the first quarter and a half of the last Rockets contest of 2016. It won’t be remembered or discussed thanks to Harden, but Brandon Jennings finished with a respectable 32-7-5 line. There are nights when Jennings actually looks like a quality NBA player, and this was one of them. Joakim Noah also played well, putting up 15 points and 16 boards while shooting 70% from the field.
The most surprising player for New York was Mindaugas Kuzminskas, the 27-year-old rookie from Lithuania. He played a large part in bringing his team back from being down by as many as 19 in the third quarter and finished with 14 points on 5/9 shooting.
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Okay, enough about the Knicks. The story of the game was James Harden. He set a career high in points, tied it in assists, and was only one short of tying his personal best in rebounds.
The Beard also became the first player in NBA history to record a stat line of 50-15-15. If that’s not impressive enough, the Beard tied Wilt Chamberlain for the most points in a triple-double in NBA history.
The second best Rocket of the night was Ryan Anderson. Ironically, Ryno found his range in the Toyota Center just hours after I wrote on how poorly he’s shot in that building all season. He went for 25 points on 8/12 shooting, a stat line he hasn’t come close to matching at home yet. Anderson has been a scary good fit with Harden this season, and this outing was no exception.
After playing a back-to-back to end 2016, the Rockets will have one day of rest before hosting the Washington Wizards on Monday. Beverley should make a return to the lineup, which is a good thing. John Wall‘s team may be struggling, but it’s no fluke that he’s one of 7 players to score 50 or more this season.
Next: Should/Could the Rockets trade for Brook Lopez?
Stay tuned to Space City Scoop for more updates, predictions, and analysis on the Rockets as the season moves forward. Lastly, happy New Year everyone, and go Rockets!