Knicks rip Rockets 121-99, connect back-to-back wins for the second time this season
It doesn’t happen very often for the Knicks to beat the Rockets, it doesn’t happen very often for the Knicks to beat the Rockets two times in a row and most important, it doesn’t happen very often for the Knicks to destroy the Rockets in such a manner as it happened last night.
With Mitchell Robinson out with a right hand fracture, head coach Tom Thibodeau inserted Nerlens Noel in the starting lineup and the Center from Kentucky did a great job on the defensive end but also on the offense, as the Knicks defeated the Rockets 121-99 at the Garden.
Noel, a player that is very similar to Robinson did whatever his sub used to do, from alley-oops to rebounding, blocking shots and scoring. In 32 minutes on the court, he logged 10 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Taj Gibson, who replaced Noel on the second unit, scored 4 points and grabbed 5 boards in 15 minutes.
Speaking of the second unit, thing are rolling super smooth over there. With a Derrick Rose hungry for wins and for helping develop the younger pieces, the bench is starting to shape up nicely and build a personality that the reserves missed in the past several years. Thus, for the third straight time, this unit has outscored their opponents’ reserves, 58-30.
“It’s only the third game with D-Rose. I see him getting more comfortable as well. As we continue to grow through these next stretch, we can take it to another level.”
– Nerlens Noel
Rose nailed 16 points, Obi Toppin dropped 11 and Immanuel Quickley scored a team-high 22 points – shooting 7-9 from the field, including 4-6 from long distance – alongside Julius Randle who also added 9 rebounds to his account.
Elfrid Payton scored 15 points and Reggie Bullock added nine.
The Knicks defense kept their opponents once again under 100 points and outscored them 44-60 in the paint.
“I thought the unselfishness was important and then we had a number of guys just step up and make shots. But overall, the defense I thought was very, very good and so we have to count on that.”
– Tom Thibodeau
The Rockets were led by Jon Wall who scored a game high 26 points, and Eric Gordon with 24 buckets and six dimes. Houston lost their 5th straight game since losing Christian Wood with a sprained ankle and also missed Victor Oladipo.
The Knicks haven’t connected two in a row against the Rockets since February 25, 2003. Since that game, Houston owns a 30-5 record against New York. Largest Knicks win in the last 18 years against the Rockets was by 6 points, on January 26, 2009 – 104-98 at Madison Square.
The Knicks (13-15) will host the hawks (11-15) on Monday night from 7:30 pm.