NBA Friday Action Game Preview: New York Knicks at Houston RocketsNew York at Houston
Time: 8 PM
Spread: NYK -3.5
Betting Odds from Bookmaker
This game has a game within the game. That game, quite simply, is Mr. Jeremy Lin. After having the breakout of all breakouts last year with the New York Knicks, he plays host to his former team.
The “Linsanity” we saw last year in New York has mellowed out to a rather sane line of just 10 points per game and six assists per game, a far cry from the 24.4 points per game he averaged during the win streak that put him on the map last year with the Knicks. That breakout set the bar really high for Lin, and he hasn’t been able to keep up with his outstanding production last year.
But part of the reason why is that he just doesn’t have to. Since the Rockets acquired James Harden, they’ve had a true go-to scorer and Lin has been able to do what point guards are supposed to do: facilitate for the other guys o the court.
Lin still looks fondly upon his experience in New York: “When I think back, I think about the games…the plane rides after the games..I think about the memories we had with our coach (and) how fun that was.”
That fun catapulted Lin to a $25 million, three-year contract as a free agent in Houston. New York simply couldn’t afford to pay the guy they helped turn into a global icon. The Rockets may be “only” 5-7, but even that is an impressive start considering few pegged them to be anything more than a horrible team going into this year.
It would be wrong to say that Harden isn’t the big reason why though. Harden had a monstrous 37 point game his first night as a Rocket and followed that up with a 45 point game. He’s come back down to earth since then, but is still posting 24.5 points per game, 4.6 assists per game, and 3.4 rebounds per game in 38 minutes of play per night.
Still, the Rockets were able to end a three game losing streak with a four point win over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night and are hoping that carries over to tonight’s game against the Knicks, though they find themselves 3.5 point underdogs according to NBA oddsmakers.
Maybe they shouldn’t be. The Rockets have won 13 of the last 14 meetings against New York, including seven straight at home. The Knicks just lost to the Dallas Mavericks, as Carmelo Anthony missed a chance to put the Knicks ahead in the final seconds of the game.
Melo has been nothing short of amazing this year and has heard the talk of MVP potential.
“With the ball in his hands, we’ll live and die with that every time,” point guard Raymond Felton said of Melo’s miss. Felton had a nice game for himself, too, scoring 18 and dishing out 11 assists, and his solid play along with starting a point guard next to him (Jason Kidd) has been a huge reason for the Knicks success this year. The Knicks are 8-2, but both of their losses have come away from MSG.
Anthony is averaging 34.3 points per game over his last six meetings against the Rockets, so many expect him to come out and put this one away for the Knicks.
But Lin might just have a thing or two to say, and will doubtlessly be looking to have a big game against his former team.