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Rockets vs. Knicks game preview: it’s not 1994 anymore

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NBA: Houston Rockets at New York Knicks Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are 12-15 and currently sitting in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. That’s a surprise, but the Knickerbockers have a fun team and have proven that they can beat anyone, with wins over Milwaukee, Utah, and Boston early in the season.

The Knicks brought in Tom Thibodeau in the offseason, which has resulted in allowed the fewest points per game. That’s a flawed statistic, but the Knicks also allow the lowest opponent field goal percentage and opponent 3-point field goal percentage. So you can probably find numbers to pick at if you want to dive deep, but New York’s defense is definitely a big part of their turnaround.

Now the bad part of the Thibs conundrum: Julius Randle is second in the NBA in minutes per game (behind one James Harden), and R.J. Barrett is in the top 20. The Knicks also have Reggie Bullock, Elfrid Peyton, Nerlens Noel, Taj Gibson, Alec Burks, and rookies Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley. Additionally, the team just traded for Derrick Rose, reuniting the 2011 MVP with Thibodeau.

Mitchell Robinson fractured his hand last night, so he’ll be out for New York.

Houston does not have a back-to-back for a bit, but the team is still without Christian Wood. Both Victor Oladipo and P.J. Tucker left Thursday night’s game early. Oladipo is out for tonight’s game.

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