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Rockets 109, Knicks 96: "Anything they want, they’re free to take."



Hello, this is Seth. I'm typing this sentence early in the fourth quarter. This game is over. It'll be over for real by the time I finish this post, I bet, but it's already over. Remember all those things the Knicks did poorly in their first game against the Rockets that we said they had to fix to take this re-match? They didn't fix a single one of them.

Things New York gave up in droves: Dribble penetration, backdoor cuts, shooting fouls, easy baskets in transition, threes, probably some fours, everything else. New York committed an uncharacteristic poopmound of live-ball turnovers-- just heaps of telegraphed and inaccurate passes-- to ignite Houston transition. James Harden and Jeremy Lin shredded 'em on the break and shredded 'em in halfcourt, too. Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, and the rest of the over-matched Knicks spent the entire night in their wakes. We talk about "staying in front"of a ball-handler, but those Knicks could hardly even trail them. If it were flag basketball, the Knick guards still would've been grasping at thin air. And Tyson Chandler-- over-reluctant to abandon the likes of Omer Asik in the paint-- serially neglected to help. Dehshadow summed it up well in the comment quoted above: New York wilted in the face of Houston's fast-paced attack (not unlike the slowed-down Knicks, but worse than usual) and gave them any look they fancied. All of the things were bad on defense.

And just for fun, the Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks shot miserably as well: 43 percent, and that's skewed by a Prigioni/Copeland-fueled garbage time spurt. J.R. Smith started hot and led them to 64 percent shooting in the first half and Chris Copeland flailed his way to some solid numbers in a second straight start (Holy shit! I just actually checked the box score and Cope had 29 on 11-19 shooting.). The rest of 'em stunk. Raymond Felton supplemented his shaky ballhandling with some egregious pull-up misses, Jason Kidd and Steve Novak caught nothing but steel and atmosphere on open threes, and Asik and friends neutralized all pick-and-roll action to Tyson Chandler. Oh, and the Knicks shot 9-16 from the free throw line, just for symmetry's sake. Most of the things were bad on offense, too.

New York actually cut it to five at one point in the third quarter, but Houston promptly ran off a ∞-0 run to blow it open for good. They just have the Knicks' number, I suppose. New York's two most hideous, embarrassing performances of the season-- and short-handed or not, this was an embarrassment-- have come versus Houston, and I couldn't be more thankful that the season series is done. Oh, and now the game's over. Home win streak shattered. : (

That's all. I'm not gonna dwell on this one, especially considering how similar it was to the previous Houston loss. Good job, Cope. Good night, y'all.

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