Game 43 Preview: New York Knicks vs. Houston Rockets

Sorry about the short preview for the Bucks game. Sickness leads to missed classes, which in turn leads to catching up with material, which leads to no time for previews. I still don't have much time for previews yet, but you're getting a bonus today because you're the best Rockets fans in the world. I really mean that.

The Knicks are playing the way the Rockets are trying to play: score more points than your opponents. The Knicks are currently first in the East in points per game, but are dead last in points given up per game.

The Knicks have rendered the draft picks that the Rockets acquired from them last year basically worthless. barring some semi-miracles, which the Rockets most definitely do not own. Semi-miracle? The Rockets are lucky when they don't get injured during pre-game warmups. They're 0-3 in overtime games. They can't hit a game-winning shots if lives were at stake, and they are more terrified of a 16 point lead than I am of America's youth and its fascination with vampire movies and Lil Wayne.

The Knicks are in the middle of a three-game slide but are still in the hunt for the third seed in the East. They're currently sitting in sixth. Only eight players say court action in their last game on Monday.

The last time these teams met, the Knicks were in the middle of a serious rut, fans at Madison Square Garden were booing them, and Amare missed about 20 layups and suddenly Chuck Hayes was declared "The Amare Stopper." In fact, Amare had killed the Rockets in almost all of his previous appearances against our hometown heroes, and seemingly just had a bad day. Or Chuck had a really good one. I don't know. Lay off me okay? STRESS!

Matchups...

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Raymond Felton:

Today's sub-topic in the previews will be...my fantasy team! I've got three horses in this race, but still rooting for a Rockets victory.

Felton started off the year red-hot. He was shooting a blistering 47% from the field through November. Then in December, he cooled off and crept closer to his career 41% average. Well, as the calendar flipped, Felton is still shooting poorly (37% for the month, 26% last week). He's still racking up the assists, but I think that can now be attributed to the Mike D'Antoni offense more than Felton's improved skills as a distributor.

Update: Posting and Toasting did a piece on Raymond Felton's regression, as they called it. I should have seen it earlier and linked it, but here it is really late.

I'm still waiting to see what Adelman does about the Brooks-Lowry conundrum. Is Brooks now a backup? He looks healthy enough to me to start, if that's the plan. Interesting...

Advantage: Rockets

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Landry Fields

Both of these guys are on my fantasy team. Please, keep your praise for me efficient. These guys sure are.

Fields is averaging 10/7 on 52% shooting. Did I mention he's a rookie out of Standford? Impressive.

K-Mart is shooting 45%, which sounds about right, but he's now shooting 88% from the charity stripe. I expect better.

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Shane Battier vs. Wilson Chandler

One scores in bunches, and the other scores in bunches, but only in the fourth quarter. Chandler is averaging 18/6 on 48% shooting. If there's anything to take away from this, it's that the wings for the Knicks can hit a ton of shots when rotations are poor. It will be up to to the guards and Shane/Chase to make sure that everyone is covered on the perimeter.

I don't know how much time Shane will get. The Knicks don't play a good style for him, so we may see Chase and Lee early and often. That could be a good thing.

Advantage: Knicks

PF: Luis Scola vs. Danoilo Ganillari:

Gallinari is returning from a knee injury. On Monday he scored 17 points. He's another shooter who isn't afraid to take the ball to the rack, and I think he had something like three dunks in the game earlier against the Rockets. He's much more athletic than most people give him credit for, and it gives his game an added dimension when he's jumper isn't falling.

Scola played nicely against the Bucks. Tons of energy (good), dedication to rebounding (great), and needed 25 shots to score 19 points (SAY WHAT!?). Yeah, that doesn't fly around here Luis. We expect better. His game is tailor-made to take advantage of the Knicks' inability to defend the post, so he should have his way with them inside.

Advantage: Rockets

C: Chuck Hayes vs. Amare Stoudemire:

Stoudemire is coming off a monster game against his former team. 15-25 shooting for 41 points is pretty damn good. And efficient. Amare has scored at least 20 points in every game since November 23, so expect more of the same tonight.

Advantage: Knicks

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Bench:

Knicks: Toney Douglas, Bill Walker, Shawne Williams, Ronny Turiaf

Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Patrick Patterson

Advantage: Rockets

Injuries:

Knicks: Ronny Turiaf questionable

Rockets: Brad Miller out

Prognosis: Very treatable

Knicks vs Rockets coverage

Posting and Toasting

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