Jennings’ heroics can’t save the Knicks to drop another one
Short-handed by the absences of Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee and Kyle O’Quinn, the Knicks had a hard time in stopping James Harden, who exploded for 53 points, 17 assists and 16 rebounds in Rockets’ 129-122 home win.
Harden set a career high in scoring and tied his career best for assists as he helped Houston getting their fourth straight win.
In spite of the missing pieces, the Knicks put up a great fight and refused to surrender easily in the last game of 2016, after being slaughtered by Mike D’Antoni‘s team in the previous meetings.
Brandon Jennings, who stared for Lee, scored a season-high 32 points and sent 7 assists, while Joakim Noah dropped 15 points and collected 16 rebounds. Jennings shared his disappointment for the way things have turned for New York in the last games.
“We were top five in the East. Now we’re trying to stay in the eighth seed. Definitely disappointing. Not the way you want to end 2016.” [Source]
– Brandon Jennings
The Knicks were up for the most part of the first half and the Rockets took the lead only in the last 5 minutes of the second quarter. After allowing the Rox to build a 19 points lead in the third, New York would fight back and cut the lead to just 3 points with 4:16 on the clock. However, James Harden with three made free throws, then Ryan Anderson from behind the arc would set things straight and put the games in the books for good.
Lance Thomas, who started as the small forward while Anthony switched to the power forward, scored 11 points. Justin Holiday added 15 points and 6 rebounds off the bench while Mindaugas Kuzminskas contributed with 14 buckets. Willy Hernangomez grabbed 10 boards.
The Knicks dropped their fourth game in a row and will start 2017 with a negative record but have a chance to get back over .500 with a more comfortable year start schedule. Tomorrow night they will return to Madison Square Garden to face the 15-19 Orlando Magic and on Wednesday night they will host the Bucks. After that, they will follow a couple of road games in Milwaukee and Indiana.