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W2W4: Knicks @ Rockets

1/28/2012

With Carmelo Anthony sidelined with various injuries on Friday night, things were supposed to open up for Amare Stoudemire.

Didn't happen.

The Miami Heat sent multiple defenders at Stoudemire each time he touched the ball. He had just two points on 1-for-6 shooting in the first half and finished with 12 points, hitting five of 14 shots.

Can Stoudemire get it going on Saturday night? The Knicks (7-12) have lost eight of nine -- five by double-digits. They could surely use a breakout performance from Stoudemire against the Rockets (11-8), one of the hottest teams in the league.

Stoudemire had 25 points in each game against Houston last season (NY lost both games). He is averaging 28 points in his last six games against the Rockets.

So keep an eye on him Saturday. Here are a few more things to watch against Houston:

3-POINT BARRAGE? Oftentimes, we've seen the Knicks live and die by the 3-pointer.

On Friday in Miami, they survived for three quarters with the long ball, but ran out of makes (and luck) in the last five minutes in their 99-89 loss.

Overall, they made 18-for-43, shooting the highest number of attempts in the NBA this season.

With Anthony out once again, will they employ the same strategy against Houston?

If so, look for Billy Walker to take his fair share. Walker shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, getting all of his 21 points from three.

BALL MOVEMENT: The Knicks got their fair share of open looks from outside the arc on Friday night. But they struggled to get those same looks inside the 3-point line, finishing just 12-for-41 (29 percent) on shots inside 24 feet. The Heat outscored New York 42-14 in the paint.

Knicks guards routinely missed rollers such as Stoudemire on pick and rolls. Can the guards help the Knicks get some easy looks inside the arc on Saturday against the Rockets, who have won nine of ten?

TURNOVER TROUBLE: Turnovers are one of the many reasons the Knicks are in desperate need of a veteran point guard. Against Cleveland, they gave it up 23 times. The Cavs had 24 points off of those turnovers in their 10-point win. New York turned it over 19 times on Friday, leading to 26 points by the Heat. A team struggling to score can't afford to give up so many free points. Keep an eye on this trend against Kyle Lowry and the Rockets.

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