The Houston Rockets are currently the hottest team in the Western Conference as they are sitting at the number one seed with a 14-4 record. They will look to earn their fourth straight win as they host the New York Knicks for the second and last time this season. The Knicks, on the other hand, are doing somewhat better than last season as they are at the seventh seed with a 10-8 record. These two ball clubs have met up a total of 150 times with the Knicks winning 74 games and the Rockets winning 76 of them. The last time they met up was November 1 as the Rockets hand the Knicks a 119-97 blowout loss. In that game, James Harden had 31 points, 5 rebounds, and 9 assists. Tim Hardaway finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
New York Knicks:
Joakim Noah (illness)
Ramon Sessions (coach’s decision; 5.2 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 37.0 FG%, 12.5 3P%)
Kristaps Porzinigis (illness; 27.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.2 APG, 46.8 FG%, 40.2 3P%)
Enes Kanter (back; 13.6 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, 63.5 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
Luke Kornet (G-League)
Isaiah Hicks (G-League)
Troy Williams (coach’s decision; 1.7 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.3 APG, 22.2 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
Briante Weber (coach’s decision; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 1.0 APG)
Bobby Brown (coach’s decision; 2.9 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.7 APG, 30.4 FG%, 29.0 3P%)
Demetrius Jackson (G-League; 0.7 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.5 APG, 28.6 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
Zhou Qi (G-League; 1.4 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.1 APG, 20.0 FG%, 18.2 3P%)
Chinanu Onuaku (G-League)
The New York Knicks would shoot fifty-eight percent from the field in the first half while limiting the Houston Rockets to forty-four percent. Former Heat player Michael Beasley chalked up 24 points in the beginning half, adding to his four rebounds and two assists. Courtney Lee had 15 points which would include three 3-pointers in the first quarter. Jarrett Jack ended up with four points, four defensive rebounds, six assists, and one steal. Willy Hernangomez played 16 minutes off of the bench as he was limited to just four points himself.
As for the home team, James Harden recorded 15 points which held a three-pointer late in the second quarter. He also dished off five assists while Ryan Anderson chalked up 14 points while grabbing four defensive rebounds. Clint Capela had one offensive rebound and seven defensive rebounds while Chris Paul ended up with four points and four assists. Eric Gordon played the most minutes off of the bench as he posted up eight points but it was the Knicks who went into halftime with a 61-58 lead.
The Rockets ended up outscoring the Knicks in the second half, 59 to 41. Harden would contribute to that as he dropped 22 points while collecting two defensive rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Former Wizards’ forward Trevor Ariza scored 16 points while former Wizards’ center NeNe grabbed three rebounds. Eric Gordon played 11 minutes off of the bench but was kept completely scoreless.
Kyle O’Quinn gave the Knicks 18 points as he shot seventy-five percent from the field. Both Michael Beasley and Jarrett Jack had six points but Beasley ended up with five turnovers. Rookie Damyean Dotson played the most minutes off of the bench but was kept to just two points as the Rockets escaped with a 117-102 victory. James Harden finished with 37 points, 2 rebounds, 10 assists, and 3 steals. Michael Beasley had a season-high 30 points, a season-high 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and one block.
The New York Knicks will host Damian Lillard (25.2 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 6.2 APG, 40.9 FG%) and the Portland Trail Blazers (11-8) for the first time this season on Monday at 7:30 p.m. These two teams have met up a total of 109 times with the Trail Blazers winning 62 games and the Knicks pulling out 47 victories. The Houston Rockets will host Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (14.8 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 49.4 FG%) and the Brooklyn Nets (6-12) for the first time this season on Monday at 8:00 p.m. The Rockets and Nets have battled each other a total of 90 times in the past with the Rockets coming away with 60 wins while the Nets won 30 games.