Pre-Game: Knicks vs. Rockets- 12/17/12

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks play the Rockets tonight.

Evening, babies. The Knicks play the Rockets tonight. It's game three of a six-game homestand and a rematch of New York's worst, most humiliating loss of the season by far. The Knicks lost by 28 in Houston back around Thanksgiving, giving up 131 points with violently, pornographically awful defense. The problems began with careless, poorly executed over-trapping of Jeremy Lin and bled into poor interior help, poor close-outs, excess fouls, and terrible rebounding. All of the bad things. Recall that Lin played decently, but it was Chandler Parsons and James Harden who really torched the Knicks without outside shooting and undeterred drives to the rim.

So yeah, I hope Madison Square Garden gives Jeremy a big, hearty pre-game ovation for the one-of-a-kind gift he gave us last February. I hope the Knicks themselves greet him warmly. Then I hope they treat him like an ordinary point guard. Before that game in Houston, all the guys crowed at length about the match-up being nothing special, then proceeded to play defense fixated on Lin and Lin alone. That can't happen this time around. He's a threat, but he's one of several on a sub-.500 team the Knicks should be able to beat if they've got their shit together. More disciplined switching and trapping, better rotations, better close-outs (for all the Lin hoopla, Toney Douglas is shooting the lights out this month and deserves just as much defensive attention), and better offensive rebounding are needed. The fast-paced Houston offense will ruin you if you if you don't contain it, and the Knicks know that as well as anyone.

As for the people playing for the Knicks tonight: Carmelo Anthony will decide right before game time whether he's going to play. If he elects to sit, either Chris Copeland or James White will start in his place. Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas Marcus Camby are both out.

Cool. Tip-off tonight is at 7:30. A game thread will be up in a little while. <3

Update: Carmelo Anthony will not play tonight.

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