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Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks game preview

The Rockets look to bounce back from consecutive losses tonight when the Knicks visit the Toyota Center.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It was a situation that many of us have faced, especially those of us near or in our college years. The Rockets had lost and my brothers and I were bored. What to do?

Fire up Netflix of course!

The dilemma that always arises after that: finding a movie that everyone wants to watch. You have to contend with what people have seen and what people are willing to watch. This can be a tiring exercise as you want to scream at others for having terrible taste in movies. Like Allen and his love of Anchorman.

Only one method has worked for me in the past, and I used it to success that night. I just picked the first great classic movie I saw on the list. It happened to be North By Northwest, a fantastic Alfred Hitchcock film that I saw in high school. As expected, it was a winner and my family liked it. So the next step was to find another good, classic film. To IMDB's Top 250 list we went, searching for another film.

We settled on #83, Witness for the Prosecution. It's based on an Agatha Christie short story. Without spoiling too much, it's the story of a man accused of murder and a lawyer's attempt to defend him. Now, in true Agatha Christie fashion, there are twists and turns in abundance. But the payoff is worth it, I promise. If you've got the time, give it a go. You'll laugh and be on the edge of your seat throughout the film.

Well, I've once again found a metaphor for the Rockets' season. Remember, two weeks ago we were blasting the Warriors for losing at home to the Spurs sans the Big Three. Last night, they went into Miami and dominated the defending champs in their own building. The Warriors' season, much like the Rockets', has gone from rock-bottom to a total high in just a few days. Right now the Rockets are on the other side of the spectrum, but they'll surely bounce back.

Every team will have ups and downs. It's easy to look at records and draw conclusions about how the Rockets are mediocre, but we're not even halfway through the season and the Rockets haven't had the easiest schedule so far. Maybe they will play down to their competition this season. And they shouldn't. But if they play up to better teams, they will be fine in the p-word.

Tip off is at 7:00pm CST.


Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Beno Udrih

Udrih is shooting 51% over his last ten games. The Yugoslavian point guard can shoot it from anywhere and is sneaky quick.

Jeremy Lin should be the better player though.

Advantage: Rockets

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Iman Shumpert

Shumpert made some clutch plays in the Knicks victory over the Spurs last night. He hit two big threes and came up with a tip-in with under 30 seconds left that gave the Knicks the lead for good. Knicks fans have been waiting for Shump to reach his ceiling and last night was a big step in that direction. He went 6-8 from three.

James Harden almost assuredly heard the thinly veiled criticisms from his teammates about his defense. But here's what I don't get: Harden basically put the Rockets on his back in the second half against the Kings. The Rockets wouldn't have been in a position to win were it not for Harden. And yes, the hero-ball criticisms will always haunt Harden, but he basically put away games against the Spurs and Pelicans by going to isolation, so you have to take the good with the bad there.

As for his defense, Shumpert is a good player coming off a great game. Just because the opposing shooting guard plays well doesn't always mean that it's Harden's fault. A lot of times it is, but it's important to look at rotations and missed assignments too.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Carmelo Anthony

Melo played his first game in a while against the Spurs and finished with 27/12 on 10-20 shooting. So, basically he's the same guy he was pre-injury. He's good, and he'll shoot if he even has a sliver of room. His shot is also very smooth and fun to watch.

Advantage: Knicks

Power Forward: Terrence Jones vs. Andrea Bargnani

Bargs started the season poorly and fed to the belief that he isn't really a great player. But he's been playing much better as of late. He's shooting 46% in Knicks wins, which is a fantastic number for a perimeter player.

Speaking of wins and losses, here's Terrence Jones' splits in wins and losses.

Wins: 11.6p/7.5r/1.7b on 53% shooting.

Losses: 7.8p/5.5r/0.9b on 46% shooting.

Advantage: Knicks

Center: Dwight Howard vs. Tyson Chandler

Chandler only played 22 minutes last night, which will keep him fresh for Dwight Howard tonight. He wasn't available when the Rockets visited Madison Square Garden earlier this season. He's a double-double threat every night.

I'll be interested to see how well Howard plays tonight after saying that the perimeter defenders aren't holding down their end of the bargain.

Advantage: Rockets


Rockets: Aaron Brooks, Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Donatas Motiejunas

Kings: Amare Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin, Toure Murray, Tim Hardaway Jr., J.R. Smith

Advantage: Knicks

Prediction: Rockets get the bitter taste of the Kings loss out of their mouths.

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