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Rockets 117, Knicks 95: 'Let Harden rest’

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I, too, was watching the Yankees.

New York Knicks Media Day Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

While you all were watching baseball, we at Posting and Toasting (at least the Yankees fans among us) were...also watching baseball.

But we did have our eye on the Knicks game and let me be the first to say it wasn’t an atrocious performance! I’d call it more of your classic, plain old bad performance. This is exactly what we ought to expect from the 2017-18 Knicks most nights—a game where they flash some good stuff and have some encouraging moments all woven thoroughly into the fabric of an ass-whooping.

The Knicks went down big early because the Rockets had forgotten how to miss a shot. Specifically, James Harden was not going to be stopped and Ryan Anderson who was on a mission of unabashed pettiness that we all absolutely saw coming.

New York eventually climbed back into it thanks to some good transition stuff and ball movement by Tim Hardaway Jr., some good play making by Michael Beasley, and great minutes on both ends from second round steal Damyean Dotson in the second quarter.

But the mistakes piled up. That disastrous, turnover-laden sequence at the end of the second quarter was particularly special. Instead of going into the half down a bucket, the Knicks staked themselves to a multi-possession deficit that they never climbed their way out of. Against a team like Houston who can score in about as many ways as the rules will permit, a small deficit can become a big one in a hurry and New York simply does not have the capacity on either end to counter that right now. We were able to laugh it off, though, courtesy of Jarrett Jack.

New York was never going to keep up with Houston’s fire breathing offence, even without Chris Paul in the lineup. But THJ, Enes Kanter, Beasley, Dotson, and Kyle O’Quinn all showed some good stuff. Most nights, though, the Knicks won't be able to keep up. They won't be able to make enough stops and they’ll turn the ball over too much.

That was precisely how it went down tonight. The Knicks won’t play an impossibly efficient team like the Rockets every night, but I don’t see them keeping up with most teams on offence nor do I see them doing it on defence. Also, they were not making Houston pay for their 24 turnovers. Would this have been better with Kristaps Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, and Frank Ntilikina in the lineup? Maybe, but it probably won’t matter against most teams.

This is what a rebuild is supposed to look like!!! But I agree with P&Ter Fcpress, could Harden have maybe not played all those damn minutes?

Notes!

  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: He was definitely the most exciting player for the Knicks and certainly looks better than he did when we let him go, but he still won’t ever be the player the Knicks spent all that money for this summer. He scored 21 points on 8-17 from the field and 4-10 from deep. He also grabbed three boards, had one assist and 3 steals against one turnover in a game-high-tying 28 minutes.

One thing was for sure, though, and that is that he is a menace in transition—something the Knicks have been lacking for a minute:

  • Enes Kanter: BEAST!

No, for real, he’s a great No. 2 centre but just isn’t someone who’s going to win you games as your first option. No pressure, Willy.

Anyways, he scored 14 points on 6-13 from the field, 2-2 from the line and and 0-1 on oh-so-close late shot clock threes. He also had eight rebounds and an assist in 26 minutes. I suppose that letting him have an extended go of it tonight can’t hurt him.

Speaking of which.....

  • Michael Beasley: The Beas came off the bench and did real well in his 24 minutes of action. He scored 17 on 7-11 from the field and 3-4 from the line. He was making his own shots and didn’t look totally lost defensively. Then, he had a fall that I definitely heard despite having the game on mute.

Thankfully, it isn’t expected to be anything long term.

  • Damyean Dotson: He is very good. Our EIC, Joe, is a noted member of the Dotson fan club.

Dotson plays with so much damn energy and persistence. I can’t wait to see what kind of phrases the Clyde comes up for the neophyte!

Dotson scored 17 points on 7-10 from the field and 3-5 from deep. He also had 2 rebounds in his 26 minutes of play. His offence looks smooth and fearless but his pesky defence is what had me jumping for damn joy. On the court, he looks like the perfect amount of jerk to get his way on defence. I’m sure he’ll eventually slide in as a starter or be the type of super-sub the Knicks previously had in Justin Holiday.

His second quarter performance was super solid. He looked like he belonged and was making an impact on both ends of the floor. He, along with THJ, were the main catalysts for the second quarter explosion.

When he was balling as a SummerKnick, I said I’d believe the hype when I saw him against real NBA competition. I know this is the preseason, but I’m starting to believe this hype.

  • The Point Guards: Ron Baker, Ramon Sessions and Jarrett Jack combined for 12 points and 7 assists. Jack totally negated some “wily veteran” stuff with that late second quarter heave which probably landed in Staten Island. In honour of the guards, I’ll leave these views from Baker’s triumphant return to action:

Come back soon, Frank!!!

  • James Harden: The MVP runner-up played way too many minutes and absolutely balled. I mean, I’m salty that Mike D’Antoni played him so much but damn he is fun to watch. He scored 36 points, had 11 assists and grabbed 9 rebounds. His near triple-double came with very little resistance.

Much to my dismay, Jeff Hornacek isn’t even that mad about it! According to ESPN’s Ian Begley:

Jeff Hornacek said he wasn't bothered by Houston keeping James Harden in for much of tonight's preseason game. However, the look on his face said otherwise.

  • Houston Rockets Twitter: Very good.
  • Aaron Judge: 1-5 with 4 strikeouts but two huge RBIs!!!!

Let’s go Mets!!!

***

Knicks are back in action on Friday at the Garden against the Wizards for their last game of the preseason. Hopefully, everyone will be healthy by then but based on how this season has been going, who the heck knows. At least the Yankees won, though!