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Crispy’s Pre-Game Notebook: Knicks at Rockets

NEW YORK KNICKS (16-16)

  • After last night’s 104-92 defeat to the Pelicans, the Knicks have lost six of their last eight contests, including five straight on the road. They have also dropped four games to teams under .500 this season.
  • Knick Facts: New York is 0-5 on the back end of back-to-backs. Houston is 7-0 in similar situations.
  • Derrick Rose had another 20-point outing in New Orleans and is averaging 23 points in his last five games. The 2011 NBA MVP has been taking more shots in recent contests and is averaging 20 field goals attempts in his last five games. That’s an increase from his career average of 16.9 attempts per game. Derrick told me, “It’s about the flow of the game, I don’t think about the shots, just what presents itself in the game.”

Knicks Derrick Rose Road Stock 123116

  • When I asked why the offense hasn’t been able to crack 100 points on this road trip, Rose said, “If we play better defense, it leads to better offense. We can’t keep going down 10 and trying to fight back.”
  • Justin Holiday is getting better with more time on the court. He played 28 minutes in New Orleans and has scored 22 points in his last two games, shooting 37% from behind the arc. He told me, “I’m just trying to bring serious energy as soon as I come into the game.”
  • Carmelo Anthony shot 8-for-22 from the field against the Pelicans, but is absolutely locked in at the free throw line, sinking 33 of his last 36 free throws on 92 percent shooting.

Melo Red-Hot in Knicks' Preseason Win vs. Nets

  • Joakim Noah went scoreless in 16 minutes against the Pelicans. He was previously on a roll, converting 15-of-29 shots. After struggling from the free throw line, Noah hit 11 of 13 from the charity stripe in his previous five games. During this stretch, Noah averaged seven points and 10 rebounds.

HOUSTON ROCKETS (25-9)

  • The Houston Rockets are an astonishing 14-2 in December and only one win away from their best December in franchise history.
  • They’re 17-0 against teams under .500 and 8-8 against teams over .500.
  • The Rockets are second in the league with 113.8 points per game and are third in point differential, registering +7.3. Only Golden State and Toronto better Houston in point differential.
  • The Rockets have four of the top nine 3-point shooters in Eric Gordon, James Harden, Ryan Anderson, and Trevor Ariza. Together, they are totaling 401 combined 3’s, which is more than the team total of 28 other NBA teams – including Cleveland whom of which has 411 as a team.
  • Is James Harden the MVP of the league? Harden ranks fourth in the league in points per game with 27.7, sits 1st in assists with 11.9 while averaging 7.8 rebounds to go with it.
  • Oscar Robertson was the only man to average 27 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds in a season. The Big O did it four times over his career. Tiny Archibald is the only player in NBA history to lead the league in points and assists in the same year (1972-73).