Skip to main content

Knicks-Rockets Preview

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

It's been 11 years since the New York Knicks won at Houston. They may be catching the sputtering Rockets at an opportune time to prevent that streak from continuing.

The Knicks look to win their fourth straight Saturday night and end an 11-game overall slide against Houston.

New York (7-6) has lost 19 of its last 20 meetings with the Rockets (5-8), including all 10 at Houston by an average of 12.0 points since last winning there on Nov. 18, 2004.

The Knicks enter this visit with a season-best three-game win streak, limiting opponents to an average of 90.3 points on 42.0 percent shooting - 14 of 70 from 3-point range - during that run.

The Rockets are in a major lull that cost coach Kevin McHale his job earlier this week after he guided them to the Western Conference finals last season. They've dropped five of the last six games, falling 96-84 at Memphis on Friday in their lowest scoring effort of the season.

''I think we were just struggling to find our shots,'' said interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who is 1-1 since replacing McHale. ''We missed 15 shots in the paint, missed 15 free throws and turned the ball over 23 times.''

Friday marked another poor shooting performance by Houston, which shot 37.8 percent - including 6 of 29 from beyond the arc - and made only two baskets in a 14-point fourth quarter.

The Rockets rank near the bottom of the league with a 41.3 field-goal percentage.

''We have got to find a way to get baskets, especially with a team like that,'' said guard Jason Terry, who scored two points on 1-of 5 shooting.

James Harden is among the league leaders with 28.2 points per game, but he's making just 25.6 percent of his 3s after hitting 37.5 last season. The All-Star guard missed 6 of 7 attempts from long range but still finished with 22 points against the Grizzlies.

Harden, though, is averaging 31.3 points while connecting on 51.7 percent from the field - 49.0 from deep - over his last seven meetings with the Knicks.

He won't have Dwight Howard's inside presence Saturday as Houston plans on resting the team's second-leading scorer with games on consecutive days. The Rockets have lost three of four without him this season.

"That's the plan for now," Bickerstaff said.

New York opened a four-game road trip with Friday's 93-90 victory over Oklahoma City, holding on after nearly blowing a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter. Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points for the Knicks, who limited the Thunder to season lows of 38.0 percent from the floor and 3 for 29 from 3-point range.

"Just reminding the guys that the end result is just figuring out a way to win, regardless of how it looks," coach Derek Fisher said. "We will keep working at cleaning things up and trying to finish it better."

Anthony could be poised for a big game, having averaged 32.7 points over his last 10 against the Rockets.

New York extended its win streak Friday with a limited contribution from rookie Kristaps Porzingis, who had seven points and six rebounds after he had 29 and 11 in a 102-94 victory over Charlotte on Tuesday.

The Knicks already have seven wins, a total they didn't reach last season until Jan. 21.