Why Can't the Knicks Handle the (Bearded) Rockets?

By Thomas Duffy
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets have beaten the New York Knicks twice, by a combined score of 41 points. Carmelo Anthony did not play in the most recent meeting, December 17, but he was there in the first matchup and scored 37 points. The second meeting was also the Knicks’ first loss at Madison Square Garden, after winning the first ten games at home.

The Rockets are 12-12, and the Knicks are 18-6. New York should have beaten Houston in at least one of the matchups in 2012-13. Could Jeremy Lin have anything to do with it?

Not as much as you might think. Lin has performed well against NY, though, scoring 22 points and dishing out 8 assists on 12/17. Lin is a respectable player, but hasn’t been able to put up those numbers on a consistent basis this season (averaging 10 PPG, 6 APG in 2012-13).

The real superstar of the Rockets is an unconventional, bearded hero named James Harden. Against New York, Harden is averaging 30.5 PPG and 6 APG, and is seemingly unsolvable to the Knicks defense. Harden, after being traded shortly before the season started, is putting up all-star numbers for Houston: 25 PPG and 5.3 APG.

The Knicks had better figure out why they can’t seem to stop Harden and the Rockets, because seeing the Knicks, who are perched at the top of the Eastern Conference, lose shows that they can be beaten and gives home to the teams that are trying to catch up to them.

Follow Thomas Duffy on Twitter @TD_Knicks for articles, news, and all things NBA.

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