The New York Knicks begin their final road trip of the season by heading to the Toyota Center to take on the Houston Rockets on Sunday. The Knicks' historic nine-game win streak ended at the hands of the Phoenix Suns and they now face six Western Conference teams in a row. They need to return to winning ways or else they risk the danger of falling down the Eastern Conference standings after working so hard to become the 4th seed.
Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets are going through a rebuild. However, they recently won against the Milwaukee Bucks backed by a legendary 50-point performance by a 20-year-old Kevin Porter Jr. They also held a 6-point lead at halftime against the Golden State Warriors in their last outing. However, they quickly lost control of the game with Warriors' Stephen Curry getting in his groove and dropping 23 points in the 3rd quarter.
New York Knicks vs Houston Rockets: Injury Report
New York Knicks
A major part of their recent success is a majorly healthy lineup, in contrast to the rest of the league which is grappling with injuries. The only player on the injury report is Mitchell Robinson, who is out due with ankle trouble. He was diagnosed with a fifth metatarsal fracture in his right foot and is out indefinitely.
The rebuilding Houston Rockets are probably one of the most injury-plagued teams in the league right now. John Wall (hamstring), David Nwaba (wrist), Eric Gordon (groin), Chris Clemons (Achilles), Dante Exum (calf) and DJ Augustin (ankle) have all been ruled out for the rest of the season. Sterling Brown was absent for their last game against Golden State and is out indefinitely. Meanwhile, Danuel House Jr. and Avery Bradley are listed under "day-to-day" and are questionable for the game.
With around 10 players either questionable or injured, coach Stephen Silas has had to put out a variety of lineups. The team has featured 37 different starting lineups this season.
New York Knicks vs Houston Rockets: Predicted Lineup
New York Knicks
With a completely fit starting lineup, the New York Knicks will use their best starting 5 for this matchup. Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock will be the team's starting backcourt with Payton running point. RJ Barrett will be the small forward, while 'Most Improved Player' candidate Julius Randle will be the power forward as usual. He has drastically stepped up his game, especially from the three-point line. From averaging 27%, he has now gone up to shooting over 40% from beyond the arc. And finally, the center of this team will be Nerlens Noel, as usual.
With no new names on the injury report, the Houston Rockets will use their lineup from last night.
Kevin Porter Jr. will be the point guard for this game even though he isn't a natural floor general. Stephen Silas is using Porter Jr.'s shot-making ability to help his teammates.
Armoni Brooks will be the shooting guard while Jae'Sean Tate will be the small forward. Tate has impressed a lot this season and shown significant progress.
Finally, Kelly Olynyk will be the power forward and Christian Wood will be the center. Wood has been pretty spectacular this season. He was a solid MIP candidate as well, but missed games due to injuries has cost him a shot at that award.
New York Knicks vs Houston Rockets: Predicted Starting 5s
New York Knicks
Point Guard - Elfrid Payton | Shooting Guard - Reggie Bullock | Small Forward - RJ Barrett | Power Forward - Julius Randle | Center - Nerlens Noel.
Point Guard - Kevin Porter Jr. | Shooting Guard - Armoni Brooks | Small Forward - Jae'Sean Tate | Power Forward - Kelly Olynyk | Center - Christian Wood.