Friday, November 23, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rockets 131, Knicks 103
By Ian Begley
WHAT IT MEANS: The Knicks said again and again they weren't worried about facing old friend Jeremy Lin for the first time on Friday night. Apparently, they weren't too worried about playing defense against him, either.
James Harden had 33 points and Chandler Parsons had 31 as the Knicks gave up the most points in the Mike Woodson era. The Knicks (8-3) also lost back-to-back regular-season games for the first time in Woodson's 35-game tenure.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 37 points, and Lin had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Houston (6-7) in his first game against the Knicks since the team declined to match Houston's $25 million offer sheet in July, sending him to the Rockets.
DEFICIENT DEFENSE: What happened to that vaunted Knicks defense?
Through nine games, the Knicks had established themselves as a top-five defensive team. But in the past six quarters, they've allowed 35, 30, 35, 37, 30 and 27 points.
The Knicks started to show cracks in the Dallas game on Wednesday, allowing the Mavs to shoot nearly 50 percent from the field and hit 45 percent of their 3-point attempts.
The questionable defense continued Friday as the Knicks allowed Houston to hit 52 percent of its shots, including 14 of its 25 3-point attempts.
Parsons had 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting in the first quarter and finished the half with a career-high 31 points on 13-for-17 shooting. Harden shot 7-for-15 from the floor and 16-for-16 from the line.
MELTDOWN IN THE THIRD: In a scene that was reminiscent of their meltdown in Memphis, the Knicks lost their cool in the third quarter in Houston -- and it cost them.
First, Anthony received a technical foul for yelling at the referees after a noncall on Parsons. While Anthony was yelling at the nearest official, Patrick Patterson streaked to the rim and converted an uncontested dunk.
Shortly thereafter, Tyson Chandler and Omer Asik were tangled up battling for a rebound. Asik was whistled for a foul but Chandler was called for a flagrant after he hit Asik in the throat with an elbow.
The subsequent Rockets free throws gave them a 17-point lead.
In all, Houston outscored New York 32-23 in the quarter. To add further insult, Knicks castaway Toney Douglas hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to give Houston a 24-point lead heading into the fourth.
TOO MANY TURNOVERS: For the second straight game, the Knicks were careless with the ball. Coming off a 14-turnover game in their loss to Dallas on Wednesday, the Knicks coughed it up 15 times against Houston. The Rockets had 23 points off Knicks turnovers. New York entered play Friday averaging a league-low 10.7 turnovers per game.
WHERE WAS CAMBY?Rasheed Wallace didn't play Friday due to a sore left foot. It seemed like the perfect spot for Marcus Camby, but Camby didn't get off the bench against the Rockets. Instead, Woodson played Kurt Thomas for 10 minutes. It was a curious decision, given the fact that the Knicks were outrebounded 54-30 and outscored in the paint 49-36.
Woodson said before the game that Camby was still working his way back into game shape.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks likely will have the day off Saturday and then will return to Madison Square Garden on Sunday to face the Pistons, who entered play Friday with a 2-10 record.
The Knicks then will travel to Brooklyn to play the Nets for the first time this season. It's also their first game at the Barclays Center, the Nets' new arena in downtown Brooklyn. The Knicks and Nets were scheduled to open the season at the Barclays Center but the game was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.