Game Thread and Preview: Knicks @ Rockets

I’ve been so engrossed with the Eastern Conference standings–and the Knicks’ rise therein (smile)–that I had no clue as to what kind of season Houston was having.  I was surprised to see Houston sitting in 7th place–ahead of Utah and New Orleans– in a very tough Western Conference.  I honestly expected Houston to struggle this year after losing Artest to free agency, Yao-Ming to injury, and McGrady to micro fracture recovery and later to his ego. 

Knicks Offense Eff eFG% TO OREB% FT/FG
Stat 106.6 51 15.2 23.1 19.4
Rank 16 9 10 29 28
Knicks Defense Eff eFG% TO OREB% FT/FG
Stat 107.3 50.8 16 25.9 22
Rank 19 23 12 10 13
Rockets Offense Eff eFG% TO OREB% FT/FG
Stat 106.9 48.9 15.6 27.8 21
Rank 15 19 14 10 25
Rockets Defense Eff eFG% TO OREB% FT/FG
Stat 106.3 50.1 15.8 26.3 21.7
Rank 15 20 15 13 11.5

I actually had to do a double take as I prepared for this game preview because of how similar New York is the Houston on offense.  The team have nearly identical offensive efficiency ratings, and they are very close in eFG%.  Even their pace is nearly the same with 94 for New York and 93.3 for Houston (9th and 11th respectively).  The turnover ratio is about even, ditto for FT/FG ratio.  The similarities continue on defense.  This game may turn out to be like the epic (but cheesy) Clark Kent v. Superman duel.  New York comes in on a 3 game win streak. Houston dropped its last three–all road games to conference rivals.  3 of Houston’s last 4 losses–all on the road–are a direct result of Houston’s inability to score consistently.  The Knicks might want to keep that in mind tonight.

What to watch for: Wilson Chandler.

I called for Wilson to show up big time against Charlotte’s super defender Wallace and Wilson answered the call.  Chandler will need to play well again against Battier and Ariza. I’d love to see Wilson continue what he has done over the last 10 games that being get to the cup.  Houston lacks a shot blocker, they started Chuck Hayes at center this season.  Carl Landry leads the team with 1.2 blocks per 36.  So Wilson, and the rest of the crew need to try to get inside.  We may not have Harrington tonight so we need another solid game from Wilson.

What to watch for 2: Three point shooting, Gallanari this means you.

Houston is right in the middle of the NBA in opponent 3pfg% allowing teams to connect on 34.6% of attempts.  New York should look to exploit this defensive weakness in tandem with Houston’s lack of a shot blocker.  Good ball movement will help the team find open looks outside and inside.

What to watch for 3: Aaron Brooks.

Brooks is second on the team in PT/36 (19.2), he leads the team in assists–20.3 AST-R (about the league average).  Brooks is quick he takes about 6 3ptfg per game and he hits a good clip (39%).  New York should look to keep a fast player on Brooks.  If Nate Robinson was a stronger face up defender and less of a lane hawking gambler, I’d lobby for him to stick Brooks. Perhaps Duhon’s size advantage will be enough.

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Thomas B.

@Don't bother; I don't tweet

60 thoughts to “Game Thread and Preview: Knicks @ Rockets”

  1. Brooks and Nate had some good battles in the Pac10 careers, which overlapped.

    Should be fun.

  2. This is a big game fore the Knicks.
    Need to show something on the road against a decent team

  3. Houston announcer called Lee “amphibious.”
    then corrected himself and said ambidextrous…
    Looks very good so far.

  4. Cant believe Im saying this but the more I watch him play the more I think the Knicks dont even have to get a 2nd max FA, just re-sign Lee and use the mid-level exemption to add another solid player.

  5. Knicks defense looks kind of amazing right now. (Also that travis knight name was too stupid to continue using.)

  6. “Cant believe Im saying this but the more I watch him play the more I think the Knicks dont even have to get a 2nd max FA, just re-sign Lee and use the mid-level exemption to add another solid player.”

    That just might happen if the Knicks are unable to trade Jeffries or Curry and to tell you the truth I dont think I would mind it. Then we can make a play at the new class of free agents during the summer of 2011.

  7. What a nice quarter.
    Lee and Gallo look solid.
    Some nice shots from Duhon.
    Nate does was nate does.
    And Jeffries plays some tough D.
    Chandler even had a nice quarter

    63 percent from the field

    got to figure out scola

  8. With this lineup the Knicks have to start the 2nd quarter their great 1st quarter is going to be undone in a few minutes.

  9. D’Antoni obviously realied the same thing, Lee back in less than 2 minutes into the 2nd quarter.

  10. D’Antoni obviously realized the same thing, Lee back in less than 2 minutes into the 2nd quarter.

  11. Knicks bench really is crap outside of Nate and Harrington right now. I think its time to start giving Hill some minutes, if not Hughes again.

  12. Bender struggles on o ,. but his length is nice on D.
    Don’tlove some of the TOs,but the Knicks shooting has been nice.
    Getting their shots and making them…

    Up 10 in their house,shooting high percentage.

  13. My God.
    Lee is automatic.
    8-9 from the floor.
    Just awesome.
    And the D is,well,stifling…

  14. Terrific half until the last 2 minutes. Lucky the Scola heave didn’t go in. You have to defend those shots!

    David Lee has been playing like some Duncan / Garnett hybrid of late. He’s developing a real swagger and it’s fun to watch.

    Enjoying the Rockets announcers. It’s always nice when another team’s guys are savvy enough to talk intelligently about their opponent’s players and praise them when they are playing well. My only disappointment is that Drexler thinks the Rockets should definitely beat this “sub-500 team” .. but the Knicks are 12-6 in their last 18, which makes them a force to be reckoned with.

    I really want this W.

  15. Jeffries so far tonight on offense, 0 for 4 from the field missing 2 layups, an ugly ass hook-shot and a wide-ass open 3 yet has hit all 4 of his FT’s and continues to play great D.

  16. Pretty good first half- Knicks need to stop Lowry in transition and shore up the defensive glass and they should be fine.

  17. I dont care how many blocks, steals and charges Jeffries takes. His offense is so freakin pathetic it is beyond comprehensible that a player can be in the NBA and be that bad offensively.

  18. “Why is the ball finding Jeffries when the Knicks need to take a shot…???”

    Because the Rockets are smart.

  19. Seems like the Rockets have gotten a couple of weird bounces and the Knicks aren’t getting many calls.

  20. I just want them to take out kyle lowery. His defense is killing us (although I think he is getting away with murder as far as non-calls go)

  21. Jeffries really needs to take a dribble or set himself or SOMETHING before he shoots the foul shot

  22. Knicks look tired. getting beat to the point. Out hustled.
    Someone needs to step up and they need to protect the ball.
    Costly TOs again

  23. This game is so indicative of Nate’s game and why he was benched. A quick surge of points, coupled with bad defense and costly turnovers from trying to do too much by himself offensively.

  24. For as great as Lee played in the 1st half (drew much praise from myself) he was awful especially defensively in the 2nd half. Got nothing from Gallo. Nothing from the bench except for Nate (who was his out of control normal self although was the only one who actually played some decent D in the 2nd half), they actually missed Harrington tonight. Plus must say the Rockets hit some back-breaking, shot-clock beating jumpers in a defender’s face a few times in the 4th quarter.

    Losing tonight wouldnt have bothered me except for the fact they blew another double-digit lead in the 2nd half on the road. Extremely frustrating loss considering how well they played in the 1st half.

  25. Not a loss to get too crazy about, the Rockets have been playing well lately and they are at home.

    Can we please give some love to Adelman? In the dictionary next to the word “overacheivers” there should be a team photo of the Houston Rockets.

  26. Stat of the night.
    Knicks first quarter points 32
    Knicks second half points 39

    Gallo has to do more than whatever it is he did. Would have ben nice to have Harrington to help the scoring. It is very funny to read the comments from game start to finish. It starts high, then cooled off, then got desperate, then dispondent, then just angry. Cant win them all guys.

  27. LOL yeah sorry Thomas about the highs and lows with the comments!!

    I wasnt expecting to win tonight but when they play as good as they did in the 1st half and play as poorly in the 2nd half its frustrating. Still its nice watching games that have playoff implications at least for the time being.

  28. The knicks collapsed both offensively and defensively this game. It seemed to me the defensively collapse came first and took the wind out of their offensive sails.

    If only scoring were only as easy as it looked tonight for the rockets— have your forward/center cut across the lane, stop and pin the defender under the basket, then turn for a layup.

    On offense, Nate can be fools gold. Think of him like Allen Iverson. Lots of dribbling, the assist is always the 2nd option. He never starts out thinking, “I’m going to set up my teammate”. It’s only when he gets cut off or double teamed that he decides to pass, and though he’s a better passer than most players who have that mindset, just the presence of a player who plays with that attitude makes the other players stand and watch.

    I’m not opposed to Nate playing, but D’Antoni has to be judicial with him. Put him in when the knicks are short scorers. He should never be on the floor with more than one of the following players: Lee, Gallinari, Harrington.

  29. Really got outworked in the 2nd half. Battier did a really good job on Chandler- 5 turnovers for Wil. Gallo pretty much invisible- needs to work harder to get looks- as much attention as they were paying him at the three point line it’d have been nice to see him make some hard cuts to the basket without the ball. Also really needs to do a better job of putting a body on someone when the shot goes up. Definitely a game where Duhon’s inability to defend quick ones really hurt- Brooks & Lowry both really tough covers for Chandler & Jeffries and the Knicks were a step slow with their switches in the second half.

  30. Got out worked and the Rockets made some tough shots that were defended.
    Watching highlights, the knicks had hands in faces in a lot of cases.

    But Nate was very frustrating tonight.
    two assists and 11 TOs is damn bad.

    The key to this loss was Gallo, tho. Lee and Chandler played well enough to win. Gallo just seemed flat. He was bothered by the Rockets defense and didn’t do enough to get his shots.
    Duhon also went cold.

    When we have jeffries taking that many shots, you know we are in trouble.

    I was definitely high early and low late. It seemed like this was going to be a walk over, and then the third quarter was just terrible.

  31. when NY is down in the 4th quarter, Gallo needs to be playing over Jeffries, I thought that was a major mistake. also, Scola beat Lee way too easily way too often in the post.

    Battier is amazing, I barely noticed him the whole game, and he ended up with by far the best +/- on either team, +24 in a 9 point game.

    also, PLAY MORE GUYS. these seven man rotations are not healthy, short-term or long-term.

  32. We lost to a better team on the road. Not a disaster. Houston is a really excellent defensive team and their bench is great (lowry, landry and budinger are one of the best bench groups in the league.)

    Going forward, I’d like to see D’Antoni move to an 8 man rotation, with Harrington, Robinson and Hughes/Bender coming off the bench depending on the opponent. Coach Pornstache is never going to play 10 guys each game, but having a bit more variability seems like it would help.

    OKC should be interesting. Although they too are a better team and the game is on the road, I actually like our match-up. Jeffries and Chandler are ideal DUrant defenders (as these things go — KD always gets his), they can’t really take advantage of our lack of size in the post, and Lee should be able to abuse their bigs.

  33. agree 100% w/ abbey. why did he insert the Cock when the game was basically over w/ 1 minute to play? he should’ve gone in at the 5 minute mark.
    and i know this sounds contrarian, but Hughes probably could’ve helped last night. And maybe some more bender and/or hill? for weakside shotblocking?
    that being said, houston is a good team. they should go hard after wade. only problem is they would need get rid of another piece in order to re-sign Scola too. Yao, Scola, Battier, Wade, and Brooks w/ Ariza, Lowry and Landry off the bench is a serious contender.

  34. and Lee should be able to abuse their bigs.

    He better not play too well, they’ll have salary cap room next year. ;)

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