Knicks @ Rockets 8:00 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 1050 AM
Prior to the showdown against the Heat, Carmelo Anthony told reporters that he will sit out the final two contests of the four-game road trip for the Knicks. Anthony has been battling a litany of injuries, including a sprained thumb, left wrist, and right ankle. When the squad returns back to New York, Anthony and the Knicks will assess his status for Tuesday’s game against the Pistons. At 7-12, New York is 10th in the latest Eastern Conference standings but just half a game from the final cutoff spot for the playoffs.
A major overhaul was seen in Houston as the franchise decided a change was necessary following a 43-39 season and failed attempt at the postseason. Rick Adelman did not return as head coach while the Rockets tabbed former Wolves general manager and former Celtics great Kevin McHale the next signal caller for the club. Houston was also reported to be involved in a three-way blockbuster trade with the Lakers and Hornets that would have landed Pau Gasol in South Texas. After the deal was rejected, the Rockets stuck with their roster aside from the additions of center Samuel Dalembert, point guard Jonny Flynn, and drafting Kansas standout Marcus Morris. McHale is working his magic from the sidelines after a troubling 3-7 start to the season. The Rockets have won eight of their last nine games and are in the midst of a four-game homestand. At 11-8, Houston sits in ninth place in the Western Conference standings directly behind the Lakers.
Last Time Out
New York fought hard on Friday in Miami but fell 99-89 to the Heat. Despite shooting 41.9 percent from the three-point line, the Knicks were outscored 25-18 in the final stanza.
Houston cruised past Washington on Friday night 103-76 after only allowing 36 percent shooting from the floor. Chase Budinger jumped off the bench with 21 points and eight rebounds in the Rockets home victory.
The Numbers Game
Last night, New York tallied 54 of its 89 points from the three-point line.
Match-up to Watch
Amar’e Stoudemire vs. Luis Scola
With Dalmbert patrolling the paint, Scola is free to work on the elbow and attack the glass. Scola is an underrated power forward; he consistently posts 18-22 points and will quietly outwork opponents in the paint. He is a staunch defender that plays below the rim without the pure athleticism of a player like Stoudemire. The Knicks will need a big performance from Stoudemire, whether he is distributing the rock to his teammates on the perimeter or smashing dunks for momentum changing plays. Stoudemire is the primary scoring option while Anthony is sidelined for the contest.
What to Look For
Rebounding will play a major role in Saturday’s matchup as the Rockets rank fourth in the league in boards per game. Houston does not have a dominant rebounder on its squad. The team relies on a group effort on the glass, which was seen on Friday night where seven players snagged at least four rebounds. Second chance points and offensive rebounding will be key aspects in this matchup in Houston. On Friday night, Houston’s leading scorer Kevin Martin was inactive due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. The shooting guard remains day-to-day entering the contest against New York. Most likely, Courtney Lee will start in place of Martin if he is unable to suit up tonight.