Knicks rip Rockets 121-99, connect back-to-back wins for the second time this season
- Updated: February 14, 2021
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.