Make no mistake, the Knicks aren't a great team, but they can be dangerous if they get rolling. In the first quarter, it looked like the Knicks were going to get rolling, as Amar'e Stoudamire scored 12pts on 6 of 7 shooting. Neither Brad Miller nor Luis Scola looked able to contain him. Enter Chuck Hayes.
This is what people don't understand about Hayes - he's excellent. He's an exceptional defender when deployed properly, meaning, not at center against guys over 7ft. Before being deployed as a center, Chuck Hayes garnered the #3 individual defensive ranking in the NBA. So, against Amar'e, he's useful. Amar'e couldn't move him out of the way. He couldn't dribble around Chuck, and he couldn't get the space to do much more than shoot jumpers. Chuck was brilliant tonight, pitching in 8pts, 9rbs, 4ast, and a steal in 31 minutes.
After Max-Contract Stoudamire score 12 in 8 minutes, he scored 13 in the remaining 40 minutes, while making only 4-13 shots. With Hayes (and Jordan Hill) spending time on Amar'e, Luis Scola operated on Tina Fey Mozgov, or Danilo Gallinari, or perhaps (in a baffling decision) on SF Wilson Chandler. Against these Charmin Soft or undersized players Scola put up 24pts, 8rbs, 5Ast, and 2Stl in 35 minutes. Kevin Martin somehow, unnoticed by everyone, scored 28pts, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished 4 assists.
Last game was classic Kyle Lowry, this one was a bit less so. His fitness isn't quite there, and he can get frustrated, leading to poor decision-making. Though, to be fair, the refs were riding Lowry in the 2nd half especially. Good thing Ishmael Smith was there, then. He makes the second unit a thing of beauty, handing off lovely oops to Courtney Lee and dunks to Knick Refugee Hill, while playing good D with surprising rebounding, and fast strong hands.
This is the depth of the Rockets on display. No Yao Ming, no Aaron Brooks, no Chase Budinger, but after the Rockets quit giving points away at the end of quarters, they simply buried New York, bringing the lead to 19 in 4th before loafing their way into a win.
- Rockets bench - gave us everything we needed - Defense, rebounds, assists and 29pts on 11-22 shooting.
- Luis Scola - he's outplayed Max Contract Stoudamire this season.
- Chuck Hayes - back in his role as a stopper, he's excellent.
- Knicks fans don't deserve this team - Gallinari is one of the laziest players I've ever seen. Mozgov is going to get tired of rolling and cutting into the lane with nary a pass in sight, and Wilson Chandler is good, and should never be asked to hold Luis Scola
- Brainfarts. I'm tired of the Rockets letting teams back into games with a string of turnovers and poor decisions. You can do that against New York, but 6 losses says you can't do it against good teams.
- Kyle Lowry - it's great to have him back, but he's got to quit shooting that 3pter.