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Knicks 122, Rockets 97: Scenes from a delightfully easy beginning to a monster road trip

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Butt whoopin’.

NBA: New York Knicks at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday night’s contest with the Houston Rockets was probably the easiest contest remaining on the Knicks’ schedule. They have three home games to close the season, but the opponents — Spurs, Hornets, Celtics — are no pushovers. The Knicks absolutely needed to take care of business in Houston.

tl;dr They did.

New York led by 10 after one, pushed the pedal to the metal in the third, and cruised to a 122-97 victory. Julius Randle didn’t even have to play in the fourth quarter! The Knicks’ star forward put in more than enough work in three frames, dropping a tidy 31 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.

The third quarter started off a bit rough, as the Knicks weren’t played their top-level D and committing a few lazy fouls. The Rockets briefly got their deficit to single-digits, and Kelly Olynyk was being annoying as always. But then, suddenly, Julius decided that he had officially had enough of Houston’s shit.

On back-to-back possessions, he did this:

Followed by this:

And that was pretty much it for the Houston Rockets. The Knicks haven’t swept the season series with this team since 2002-03, so it’s been awhile.

Also, let’s give some kudos to Derrick Rose, who chipped in a preposterously efficient 24 points on 8-11 shooting. RJ Barrett also managed 21 points. It was fun!

Recap to come.