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Game 9 Preview: Houston Rockets at New York Knicks

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To the city that never sleeps! The last time the Rockets were here, Aaron Brooks took over in the fourth quarter and closed the game for the Rockets.

Well, Aaron's not playing tonight, so don't get to pumped for that. Playing in Madison Square Garden is always a treat, and hopefully the players make the most of the Rockets' only trip there this season.

The Knicks are a typical D'Antoni team in that they like to run and they love to shoot. Amare is surrounded by some pretty good shooters. I got to watch the Knicks play the Bulls earlier this season and I was impressed with their shooting. Defensively, they were awful, but they hit a bunch of difficult shots and passed the ball really well as a unit.

The Knicks are coming off a loss to Kevin Love.

Keys to the Game:

Keep up the defensive intensity

Limit Amare

Slow down the game

Let Jordan Hill wreak havoc on his former team

On to the matchups...

Matchups:

PG: Ish Smith vs. Raymond Felton:

The last time the Rockets played Raymond Felton, I said that I really didn't like him. I guess that's still true, but I have warmed up to him a little bit since then. He's getting 16/8/4 in D'Antoni's offense, so take those numbers with a grain of salt.

Ish didn't play well against the Pacers, but that's to be expected of an undrafted rookie. Playing in MSG is not going to help him calm down either.

Advantage: Knicks

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Landry Fields

I really didn't know much about Fields, so I did some research. He's the Knicks' second round pick from this year's draft. He went to Stanford and led the Pac-10 in scoring and rebounding during his senior season.

He's averaging 10/6 on 55% shooting, which is damn impressive. He's definitely someone to keep an eye on as his career progresses.

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Shane Battier vs. Wilson Chandler

Against the T-Wolves, Chandler recorded five blocked shots and seven assists to go along with 17 points and six rebounds in a very well-rounded game, until you look at his shooting: 6-for-19 from the field, 2-for-6 from three-point range.

Shane is the third-leading blocker for the Rockets, and leads the team in assist-to-turnover ration. I'm not sure who he'll guard today, so he may not get too much time on the court. We'll see.

Advantage: Even

PF: Luis Scola vs. Danoilo Ganillari:

Danilo has had a crappy start to the season. He's shooting 35% and only 33% from three point land.

That means he's going to have one heck of a game tonight.

Luis is good, but if the James Posey incident is foretelling, he may not be able to guard anyone on the Knicks' roster. He's still better than Danilo, though.

Advantage: Rockets

C: Brad Miller vs. Amare Stoudemire:

As Clutch Fans tweeted, and is generally known, Amare owned the Rockets when he was with the Suns. Last season, he averaged 30/10 over 4 games. He's too quick and athletic for anyone we have, and the only thing keeping him from killing the Rockets tonight is the absence of Steve Nash.

Amare could still go off, and will probably have a great game. It's a little different now though with that huge contract and Raymond Felton instead of your point guard rather than Nash.

Brad really stepped up against the Pacers. His 23 points were all important and we'll need him to step up tonight again.

Advantage: Knicks

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Bench:

Knicks: Toney Douglas, Roger Mason, Jr., Bill Walker, Anthony Randolph, Timofey Mozgov

Rockets: Kyle Lowry, Courtney Lee, Chuck Hayes, Jordan Hill (revenge game!), Jared Jeffries

Advantage: They've got a good bench over there, and with Chase most likely out, I think this one goes to the Knicks

Injuries:

Knicks: Ronny Turiaf questionable

Rockets: Brooks out, Yao out, Budinger questioable

Prediction: I'm going to let my roommates make the predictions since I've been terrible at this recently.

Yaseer: "Knicks lead early, Rockets claw back and win 99-93."

Ben: "Knicks win 99-97. You guys seem to choke all the time."

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