Following an astonishing performance over the Los Angeles Clippers, the Houston Rockets took care of business with a 120-96 victory over the New York Knicks, Friday night, at the Toyota Center in Houston. With the win, the Rockets swept their regular-season series against the Knicks, while winning their fifth straight consecutive game.
With the start of the playoffs a week away, the Rockets are peeking at the right time. Although Mike D’Antoni had the night off due to an illness, it was clear from the opening tip that the Rockets were on the verge of another blowout performance.
Coming out of the gates shooting 50.0 percent from behind the arc, the Rockets came out on fire and took an early 32-16 lead following the first quarter. Although their offense looked flawless during the first 12 minutes, Houston’s defense looked even better throughout the game.
During the first half, the Rockets held the Knicks to one of their worst shooting performances of the season, as New York shot 37.8 percent from the field and a horrendous 13.3 percent from deep. Houston’s defense helped the Rockets to a 72-43 lead at halftime.
Although they held a 29 point lead coming out of the break, the Rockets never gave the New York any hopes of a comeback. Houston extended their lead to 42 points heading into the fourth quarter where they cruised to their fifth consecutive victory.
Despite a 26 point performance, it was a quiet night for James Harden in the blowout win. Although the Rockets came out firing on all cylinders, Harden had a rough start scoring three points on 1-for-7 shooting from the field. While Harden struggled to find his groove, his supporting cast did a great job picking up the slack for their MVP.
Four of the remaining five starters scored in double-figures, as Clint Capela recorded another double-double of 12 points and 15 rebounds. Kenneth Faried returned to form, adding in 13 points and five rebounds coming off the bench.
For New York, Mario Hezonja led the way with an impressive triple-double of 16 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists, while Henry Ellenson added in another 16 points of his own.
Following the win, Houston moves to 52-28 on the season and a home record of 30-10 for the year. Up next, the Rockets will close their 2019 home schedule against the Phoenix Suns. Tipoff is slated for Sunday at 6:00 p.m. CT.