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Knicks Lose Big to Houston, Snap Three Game Win Streak

MANHATTAN, N.Y – Madison Square Garden had a certain electricity Wednesday night, knowing that James Harden was coming into town. The New York Knicks were riding a three game win streak, heading into Wednesday night’s contest between the Houston Rockets. New York had been playing much better basketball of late, with the highlight being the play from Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis had eclipsed 30 points or more in each of the three Knick wins during the streak. The supporting cast had also done a great job of pushing the tempo, and making the extra pass to the open man. On the defensive side of the ball, the Knicks had shown a grit and tenaciousness that fans hadn’t seen in years. This led many to believe that the Knicks actually had a chance to knock off a Western Conference powerhouse.

The first quarter was very misleading, as the Knicks looked like a potential playoff team. Porzingis got off to a hot start, scoring nine first quarter points and looked to be on his way to another 30 point game. Houston started out very cold, shooting just 8 for 23 from the field in the first quarter. The Knicks were clogging up the interior, and getting after it on the boards. After the first quarter buzzer sounded, many in the Garden couldn’t believe that the Knicks had a 27-24 lead.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY) Harden poured on 31 points Wednesday night.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Harden poured on 31 points Wednesday night.

From that point on, Houston turned it on and didn’t look back. The Rockets outscored the Knicks 36-21 in the second quarter, then 40-26 in the third quarter. New York just never seemed to recover from that third quarter surge from the Rockets. Eric Gordon (17 points) and Ryan Anderson (21 points) helped pace the scoring attack for Houston behind Harden (31 points). Harden looked absolutely un-guardable, taking advantage of any Knick defender. New York would go on to lose 119-97 to Houston, and fell to 3-4 on the season.

The Knicks got exposed with their poor perimeter defending. The Rockets made 19 three point field goals, and shot 47% from the field. New York has to do a better job of running out to defenders. There was one instance where Tim Hardaway Jr. ran clear by a shooter without putting a hand up. It’s that lack of defensive effort that will get you beat by 20 or more points. In the NBA, the players are too good of shooters for you to allow them open looks.

Porzingis after his hot start, struggled shooting (19 points, 7-18 FG) for the rest of the way. Other than Hardaway Jr. (23 points) and Enis Kanter (12 points), no other Knick scored in double figures. The Knicks can not rely on Porzingis to score 30 plus every night. The supporting cast has to do a better job of picking up the scoring load for New York. Frank Ntiklikina (26 minutes, two points) and Doug McDermott (22 minutes, six points) provided a combined eight points off the bench.

The Knicks will look to get back to .500, when they face the Phoenix Suns (4-4) Friday night at the Garden.

Barry Holmes is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter @BHO732

(Featured Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY)

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