The New York Knicks continue to roll, taking down the Houston Rockets 122-97. The Knicks led for most of the game while receiving key performances from a number of players. The Rockets played against Golden State last night, and were clearly out of gas tonight against a well-rested Knicks team. The Knicks improve to 36-28 for the season, which means it is statistically impossible for the Knicks to finish below .500. This marks the first time since 2013 that the Knicks will finish with a winning record.
The Bench Leads The Way
Julius Randle led the way as usual, dropping a casual 31 points tonight against the Rockets. However, what impressed most was the bench production. In particular, Derrick Rose scored 24 points with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and only 1 turnover. Rose was the true facilitator tonight, as he is most nights with how he leads the second unit. Immanuel Quickley also contributed 13 points, while Taj Gibson and Obi Toppin combined for 11 points in limited minutes. Lastly, RJ Barrett showed Knicks fans even more encouraging signs tonight against the Rockets. Barrett dropped 21 points, in what seems like familiar fashion at this point. Barrett’s second-year improvement has been remarkable so far and he’s only getting better.
Noel Leaves Game Vs Rockets Early
Unfortunately for the Knicks, Nerlens Noel left the game early with an ankle injury. While we don’t know how long this injury will sideline him for, we do know that the Knicks are prepared for this situation. We saw the Knicks add Norvel Pelle to the roster after losing Noel the first time. Coach Tom Thibodeau is more than comfortable with inserting veteran Gibson into the starting lineup. The Knicks have been short handed all season at the center position, but they have proven to be prepared. Hopefully this ankle issue will not linger with Noel come playoff time.
Following the win over the Houston Rockets, the Knicks are now 1.5 games ahead of both the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat. Additionally, the Boston Celtics lost at home to Portland, and now sit 2.5 games behind the Knicks. This means that the Knicks are getting closer and closer to clinching the playoffs. Just a few more wins on this road trip with help from the Celtics will allow for the Knicks to clinch the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The Knicks look to continue their winning ways tomorrow night against the Memphis Grizzlies: the team that began the Knicks previous 9 game winning streak.