The Rockets started the game very sloppy as the Knicks jumped out to an early first quarter lead. However, a 14-0 run with Harden resting on the bench pushed the Rockets out in front for good. 12 points was the difference at halftime as the Rockets lead 60-48.
Another double-digit victory in the third quarter pushed the Rockets out to a commanding 100-73 lead. An early push from Houston in the fourth then allowed the third string to come in during garbage time and polish the win off convincingly.
119 points is the largest total the team has eclipsed on offense since their opening night win against the Warriors. The total is not hard to achieve when the team makes 19-52 threes and 47.7 percent of their shots from the floor. All five starters scored in double figures, including James Harden’s 31 and 21 from Road Ryno, Ryan Anderson.
Clint Capela also pulled out a solid performance, achieving the game’s only double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Despite having a smaller team and a smaller lineup than New York for most of the game, the team still outrebounded them 46-42. If the Knicks were going to win this game, it was because they would have outsized us. That’s the concern going into many games this year, but at the end of the day, this team is built to challenge the Warriors, and that’s why the team is usually smaller.
But the wing guys that play big, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute, both had another stellar game tonight. There was a play early in the game from Tucker where he was guarding Kristaps Porzingis, and once the gif comes out, I will save it and cherish it forever, because it was an astounding display of defense. A 6’5” guy should not be playing that good of defense on a 7-footer. He’s like a three-point shooting version of Chuck Hayes, and it’s fantastic.
The Knicks’ top scorer tonight was Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 23 points and 7 boards. He’s probably the best player on that team other than Porzingis, and that’s not a position I would want to be in if I were the Knicks. Porzingis scored 19 and Enes Kanter scored 12. Only three double-digit scorers for New York.
Everyone with the exception of Ramon Sessions, who only appeared in garbage time, had a negative plus/minus. That statistic alone shows how much the Rockets dominated this game from start to finish. It was a game that Rockets needed to gain a little confidence back.
Hopefully the Rockets can continue this momentum on Friday as the team heads to Atlanta to face the Hawks. Tipoff is at 6:30 CT.