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Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks game preview

Houston Rockets v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

After their best win of the season in Atlanta, the Houston Rockets followed it up with arguably their worst loss of the season in Cleveland.

Yes, the Rockets are incredibly thin right now. Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green were their starting guards. Eric Gordon was the first backup guard off the bench. Danuel House Jr. is a key rotation piece, and Christian Wood is still Houston’s best big man (ducks as the Alperen Sengun fans throw cinderblocks at my head). With so many players out, it wasn’t surprising that Houston’s defense struggled to contain Cleveland’s offense. Likewise, they could not generate consistent offense for themselves.

They can throw that game out and start fresh tonight as the New York Knicks come into town. While Houston will be on the second night of a back-to-back, the Knicks are coming off a loss on Tuesday to Golden State, a.k.a. “The Game Where Steph Curry Broke the 3-Point Record.” Maybe you’ve seen it.

The Knicks started 5-1 with wins over Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Since then, they are 7-15. They are on a four game losing streak and are two games back of the final play-in spot. I know it’s too early to be thinking about that, but it’s been disappointing for Knicks fans since the infamous Sidetalk episode debuted.

Stephen Silas left Wednesday night’s game with dehydration. He flew back with the team and is expected to return to the bench soon. So there’s a decent chance Houston is missing four key rotation players and their head coach.

Tonight is Rudy T Night at the Toyota Center. It’s probably not a coincidence that it’s happening on the night where Houston plays the team that it defeated in 1994 to win its first NBA championship. Of course, Rudy T also won another NBA title the following year in addition to a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. And that’s just his coaching accomplishments. He was a standout with the Rockets as a player, appearing in five All-Star games over 11 seasons. The Hall of Fame finally got over themselves and voted him in a couple of years ago. With the pandemic, the ceremonies for the last two classes was a bit muted. So in case you missed it, here’s his Hall of Fame speech.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest