Change doesn't happen overnight in sports, there will always be growing pains. The Rockets are finding their way under new coach J.B. Bickerstaff. The struggles continued for the Rockets against the New York Knickerbockers, 107-102.
The Rockets got a taste of the Knicks' 7 foot three inch rookie Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis towered over the Rockets with Dwight Howard out on a back-to-back night. The only player on the Rockets roster to could check the height of Porzingis was Clint Capela -- but he was neutered with early foul trouble. Capela still had a solid night, recording a double double -- 16 points, 14 rebounds.
Porzingis accounted for 24 points on 8 of 12 with 14 rebound and seven blocked shots. James Harden was the top Rockets scorer with 24, 10 assists, seven rebounds, and three steals.
The Rockets shot well enough to win the game from the three-point line at least compared to previous games this season -- knocking down 12 of 28 shots. The teams were even on the glass, the Rockets had 42 rebounds and Knicks had 45 -- a solid output without Howard. Porzingis had his presence known on the glass two with five offensive rebounds.
The game tied at 95 all with 2:35 left in the fourth quarter. James Harden had the ball and drove to the basket. Waiting for Harden at the rim was Porzingis, who blocked the ensuing shot from Harden. Carmelo Anthony took the ball in transition, knocked down a dagger, pull up three-pointer.
The Knicks would hold on for the 107-102 win. The Rockets lost two straight games since winning the debut of new coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Houston faces the Memphis Grizzlies for the second time in three games on Wednesday in Houston.