Seven games are on the slate for Friday night, but none will be more entertaining than the matchup between the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets. While the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks contest should be exciting as well, it will be interesting to see how the Knicks respond after their biggest win of the season against another top Western Conference team. New York defeated the San Antonio Spurs 105-101 on Thursday night.
The Knicks finally eclipsed double digit wins after Thursday’s thrilling victory. The disappointing 10-21 squad received a career-high 27 points from Iman Shumpert, contributing 6 rebounds and 3 steals as well. Carmelo Anthony recorded a double-double, dropping 27 points and adding 12 rebounds.
“The effort level was very high, the energy level was very high,” Anthony said. “We played like we wanted this game.”
Anthony leads his squad in points (26.8 per game, third in the league) and rebounds (8.9) while Raymond Felton (injured, groin) dishes out a team-high 5.1 assists.
The Rockets are searching for consistency. They split the sixteen contests played in the month of December, never winning more than three in a row and never losing more than back-to-back games. In those wins, Houston outscored their opponents by an average of 12.2 points, while losing by 14 points.
“We’ve played some poor games…,” coach Kevin McHale said Tuesday. “It doesn’t feel like we’re in much of a rhythm.”
Shumpert will likely have to guard James Harden, who is fifth in the league in scoring, pouring in 24 points per contest. In his last four games, however, the 24-year-old is scoring 30.3 points, shooting 53.2 percent from the field.
Dwight Howard leads the team in rebounds per contest (13.1, third in the league), blocks (1.8) and field goal percentage (58.1) while Harden records a team-high 5.2 assists per game.
In their meeting at Madison Square Garden on November 14, Houston bested New York 109-106, despite 45 points from Anthony.
While the Rockets are an impressive 13-5 at home to the Knicks’ 6-9 record on the road, New York will build on their performance against the Spurs and upset Houston at the Toyota Center behind another big night from ‘Melo.
Knicks, 107 – Rockets, 103
National TV: NBA TV
Time: 8:00 P.M. ET