NBA Starting Lineups and Match Prediction: New York Knicks vs Houston Rockets
The New York Knicks will play the Houston Rockets on Friday night in Houston and this game shouldn’t even be close. The visiting Knicks are the worst team in the NBA having won just 15 games all season long. The Knicks are 7-32 on the road this season and have lost 8 of their last 10 games overall. They lost 114-110 on Wednesday night in Orlando.
While Mario Hezonja was 11/22 for 29 points, the Knicks shot just 6/27 from the 3-point arc for 22.2%. They have also lost 8 straight road games. Their only hope, in 2019, is that they may get to select Zion Williamson at the draft.
The Houston Rockets are headed in the opposite direction. They are 51-28 this season with three games yet to play. The Rockets are a strong home team with a 29-10 record. In fact, the Rockets have won 5 straight games in Houston. On Wednesday night, the Rockets knocked off the Clippers in a 135-103 blowout.
The team got great contributions from James Harden with 31 points, Chris Paul with 29, and Clint Capela chipped in with 24. The Rockets are now 3rd in the Eastern Conference and are 1.5 games off the Denver Nuggets, who are in second place.
New York Knicks Starters:
Head coach Dae Fizdale willy likely start Mario Hezonga, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Damyean Dotson.
Houston Rockets Starters
Mike D’Antoni will most likely have the Rockets starting with Chris Paul, James Harden, Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, and P.J. Tucker.
Expectations and Predictions:
The players on the Knicks' side are quite literally auditioning for jobs and secure contracts next year. Players like DeAndre Jordan, Mario Hezonja, and Emmanuel Mudiay will all be free agents from July 1st, 2019 onwards.
The Knicks are in the throes of a complete rebuilding process. The centerpiece of the rebuilding phase could be Duke Blue Devils’ collegiate star, Zion Williamson. If the Knicks receive the 1st pick after the lottery determination, their future could be bright.
After just 19 games since coming over from the Dallas Mavericks, Dennis Smith Jr. leading the team scoring charts. However, the 14.1 ppg star may be unavailable for Friday night due to a sore back as he is listed under day-to-day. As a unit, the Knicks give up 114.1 points per game and score just 104.9 themselves.
They are 27th in 3-point shooting stats at just 33.9%. A 6 to 27 shooting ratio from distance against the Magic hurt them in that loss on Wednesday night.
The Rockets have two all-star caliber players in Chris Paul and James Harden as the latter is a leading candidate to be the league’s MVP. Harden is averaging 36.3 ppg and 7.5 apg. In fact, his overall play has lifted the Rockets into the top half of the Western Conference playoff bracket during a trying season for the Rockets.
Injuries, roster changes, and the return of Jeff Bdzelik’s defensive coaching philosophy created an unstable environment for the Rockets. However, through all of it, Harden and the Rockets are 3rd in the West. They are quite potent offensively, ranking 1st in three-pointers attempted and made, 3rd in free-throws made, and 8th in points per game at 113.4. Defensively, the Rockets are solid as well. They are 5th in steals and 10th in forcing turnovers.
The Knicks' only hope in this game is if Houston Rockets treats it as a meaningless contest. After what has been a tough season for the Rockets, they mainly just want to escape the effort and stay healthy with the playoffs being just a week away. Mike D’Antoni may manage his star’s minutes but expect the Rockets to win this game by 10 points or more.Modified 20 Dec 2019, 22:28 IST