The New York Knicks (18-5) coming off a hard fought, grind it out type game VS. the Cavs, take on the Houston Rockets (11-12) at the Garden tonight. The Knicks will look to extend their winning streak to 5 games, as well as improve the home record to 11-0.
Jeremy Lin returns to MSG for the first time since "Linsanity"(which lasted 48 days), and endure what many expect to be a mixed reaction from the Knicks faithful. There is no doubt what had occurred during that stretch was anything short of remarkable, but it was best for both sides to move on. Lin got the lucrative contract (4 years 28 million) he was looking for in Houston, and the Knicks got the Point Guards (Felton, Kidd, Prigioni) needed to run Mike Woodson's system to perfection. The Knicks went from a team that was careless with the ball, to a team that may break the record for turnover differential.
The First time these two teams met, the Knicks defense was lackadaisical, and James Harden went off, getting to the hoop with ease and easily imposing his will. The Rockets won the first match-up 131-103 If the Knicks want to win this game they have to tighten up their perimeter defense. Chandler Parsons also shot 13/17 from the field with 31 points. The Knicks turned the ball over 15 times, and only took 14 shots from the charity stripe. Those two stats have to change if the Knicks plan on winning this game tonight.
Carmelo Anthony (Ankle, Knee) is questionable to play, though I'd be shocked if he doesn't suit up. Both he, and the Knicks want this game after getting blown out the first time they met in Houston. Also on the injury front, Amar'e Stoudemire continues to work hard, and its conceivable he returns on this homestand. Rasheed Wallace is OUT as he is sitting out his second straight game.
This is a game the Knicks should win, and if the 3 point shooting is hot early it can get out of hand in an instant. Tyson and Co. have to set the tone early on defense, and let it be known that you will have to work in this one to score in the paint, and nothing nothing will come easily. I do not expect Parsons to have as good as a game as he did in Houston for the main reason that he won't catch the Knicks as off guard this time. I believe Woodson keeps this team focused and prepared tonight as the Jeremy Lin media circus hits MSG, and the Knicks will come out with the W.
Prediction: Knicks 108 Rockets 97
Where To Watch: MSG/ESPN 7:30 PM