The Houston Rockets put up another dominating performance. The latest victim was the New York Knicks.
The Houston Rockets offense showed its brutal offensive force once again against the New York Knicks on Monday night. With Carmelo Anthony in Oklahoma City and Kristaps Porzingis taking the night off, the Knicks looked like a team that is at the beginning of a rebuild.
Chris Paul sat out of this contest with a shoulder bruise, which was likely the best excuse the Rockets could use to rest their new star point guard. But the Rockets didn’t miss him one bit on offense, as they ran off 91 points through the first three-quarters and won the game 117-95.
As the Rockets headed into the fourth quarter with a 91-71 lead, it looked like the starters were done for the night. While James Harden and the starters took their rest, the Knicks shaved the lead down to 11 points with seven minutes left in the game.
The starting unit returned to the floor, and Harden converted on a 3-pointer followed by a baseline reverse jam from Clint Capela. With 2:28 left in the game, Eric Gordon‘s 3-pointer put the Rockets ahead 112-90, and the Knicks run was over before it started.
Notable Rockets statistics
James Harden: 36 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists and 2 steals
Clint Capela: 19 points, 9 rebounds
Eric Gordon: 18 points, 5-9 FG
Trevor Ariza: 14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
Notable Knicks statistics
Tim Hardaway Jr.: 21 points, 3 steals
Michael Beasley: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals
Damyean Dotson: 17 points, 7-10 FG
Enes Kanter: 14 points, 8 rebounds
The Rockets are 3-0 in the preseason
The Houston Rockets have won their first three games of the preseason. The Rockets have also made at least 22 3-pointers in each game, easily surpassing their average of 14.4 made 3’s per game last season.
What might get lost in the shuffle is Houston’s defense. They haven’t allowed more than 97 points in a game in the entire preseason, and they held the Shanghai Sharks to just 82 points. The Rockets have frequently deflected passes, forced turnovers and finished possessions with solid defensive rebounding.
The acquisitions of Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute seem to be paying dividends for Houston’s defense. Now the Rockets can compete with the elite teams in the NBA both offensively and defensively. This is a team with more firepower and more versatility than a season ago, and I can’t wait for the regular season.