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Preview: Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks

The 21-13 Houston Rockets take on the 10-21 New York Knicks at the Toyota Center tonight at 7:00 p.m.  You can catch the game on NBA TV or Comcast Sports Net Houston… if you’re a 1%-er.

What’s there to say?  The Knicks are an absolute disaster.  I’ve truly begun to feel bad for Carmelo Anthony. It’s such wasted talent to see him wither away on crappy team after crappy team… then again, perhaps he’s the problem?  Okay, so maybe I don’t feel so bad for him.  He’s been a bit of a diva in the past so perhaps this is all his own doing.  But I digress…

Ignoring Tuesday’s game, offensively the Rockets have been on fire.  We’re 9th in the league in point differential, 3rd in offensive rating, and 3rd in shooting percentage.

There is really no excuse for the Rockets in losing to this team.  Then again, there was really no excuse for them to lose the last two games they’ve played, both losses to absolutely dreadful teams.  The Rockets are better in every way.  Better players, better coaching, … everything.  Well, except for maybe defense (Nah, they’re still better on defense).

The Rockets are going to have to learn to protect the ball and defend the basket, even against the horrible teams.  It’s part of the main reason they lost to the abysmal 10-20 Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.  The Rockets turnover ratio is 16.8, the 27th worst in the league and they are allowing 102.5 points per game, the 25th worst in the league.

Dwight Howard recently spoke out about the team’s very obvious defensive woes:

Not going to talk about it anymore. Guys have to do their part on defense. It starts on the perimeter.

That is a very loaded comment aimed directly at James Harden and Jeremy Lin.  Can you really blame D12 thought?  Both Lin and Howard have struggled the most with turnovers and allowing other players to blow right by them this year.  All of this is very perplexing to me considering that Kevin McHale has built a reputation for himself as a very good defensive coach.

Perhaps the Rockets are creating bad habits that they’re having trouble breaking.  As silly as this sounds, for most of their games they’ve relied on their ability to simply outscore their opponents rather than completely dominating them on both sides of the ball.  Maybe they’ve just gotten used to this completely offensive-driven style of winning.  If that’s the case, they’re going to have to break that habit quickly if they’re wanting to seriously contend late into the regular season and into the post-season.

Look for James Harden to have a big game as the Knicks have struggled greatly handling hard drives into the paint.  Also look for Chandler Parsons to continue his strong supporting role as well.

Hopefully the Rockets can keep their defensive problems in check long enough to pull off the win because they desperately need the morale boost after this past week of losing to teams they have absolutely no business losing to.


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Tags: Houston Rockets

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