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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Rockets lose 121-99 to the Knicks
POSTED: February 14, 2021 -- 8:22 a.m. CT
NEW YORK, NY (Madison Square Garden) -- The Houston Rockets lost 121-99 to the New York Knicks Saturday night. Houston (11-15) has lost five consecutive ball games. Saturday's game encapsulated Houston's recent struggles on offense and on defense.
Once again, the Rockets failed to shoot well from long range. The Rockets shot 18.6% (8 for 43) on three-point shots. Many of them, as usual, were wide open shots. Clang. Clang.
The Rockets' defense allowed the slow-paced Knicks to score 9 fast break points in the first quarter. Houston trailed 30-25 after the first 12 minutes.
New York (13-15) outscored the Rockets 33-22 in the second quarter and led 63-47 at halftime.
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John Wall percolated in the third quarter to help Houston slice into the Knicks' lead and get within five (79-74) with 3:40 remaining in the third quarter. Wall scored 15 points in the third period.
When Wall rested for a few minutes late in the third and early in the fourth quarter, the Rockets' offense stalled while the Knicks' offense went on a run.
Houston trailed by 7 when Wall took a break with 1:58 remaining in the third. Wall returned with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter. Houston trailed by 19 (108-89).
With Christian Wood (sprained right ankle) and Victor Oladipo (sore right foot) not playing, when Wall and Eric Gordon aren't on the floor, good things do not happen for the Rockets.
As Gordon said after the game, "We have a small margin of error every game that we go into."
Eric Gordon scored 24 points and added 6 assists in the game. Gordon shot 7 for 7 from two-point range but 1 for 7 from three.
P.J. Tucker missed all 4 of his three-point attempts. Tucker didn't score in the game; but, he did have 8 rebounds.
DeMarcus Cousins missed all 3 of his threes; however, Cousins did post his sixth double-double this season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
After the game, Cousins said, "As of right now, I think we're probably at our lowest we've been all season. We don't have anywhere to go but up from here; so, that's something to look forward to."
"I still believe in this unit," Cousins continued. "I still believe in this group; so, we just gotta get on the same page and fix our mistakes. I think we're going out making the same mistakes nightly. It's biting us in the butt at the end of the day. Just correcting those small mistakes; and, I believe we can easily get back on the path and winning games."
Danuel House Jr's three-point shooting woes continued. House was 0 for 8 from the floor overall including 0 for 5 from three-point range.
David Nwaba was 0 for 3 from three. Rookie Mason Jones missed his three 3-point shots.
You get the idea.
John Wall (3 for 6) and Sterling Brown (3 for 5) were the only Rockets to shoot 50 percent or better on three-point attempts versus the Knicks.
Wall scored a game-high 26 points (9 for 20 field goals). He added 4 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Brown and Nwaba each scored 11 points off the bench.
"Obviously, without Christian we're struggling," Stephen Silas, Rockets Head Coach said. "But, we gotta find a way to win games."
Eric Gordon remarked, "We're just not getting it done."
Danuel House is 3 for 28 from three in the last 4 ball games.
Houston's bench brigade was outscored by the Knicks' bench bunch 58-30.
The Rockets will continue the three-game road Monday, February 15, against the Washington Wizards. Tip is set for 6 p.m. Central Time. The matchup will be John Wall's first game in Washington, D.C., as a member of the visiting team. Wall played for the Wizards the first 10 seasons of his NBA career before being traded to Houston for Russell Westbrook on December 2, 2020.
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