8:00 PM ET, November 14, 2013
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
While the Houston Rockets have had a hard time defensively for most of the season they still haven’t been as productive on the offensive end during their recent funk.
Considering the way former Knick Jeremy Lin has been playing, the visiting Houston team might not need James Harden to turn things around tonight when they seek their 16th victory in 17 games versus the New York Knicks.
Since averaging 109.4 points on 49.9-percent shooting during a 4-1 start, the Rockets (5-4) have scored 104.8 per game and shot 43.0 percent while dropping three of its last four — a stretch that includes three overtime periods.
YouWager line movers believe it hasn’t helped that Houston has allowed an average of 111.8 points over their last six games.
With Harden out because of a bruised foot, Lin stepped up with season highs of 34 points and 12 assists in Wednesday’s 123-117 overtime defeat versus the Philadelphia 76ers.
Houston wasn’t doing too great without Harden — a top-five scorer at 24.9 points per game — when they missed 10 straight shots from late in regulation into overtime before Dwight Howard’s three-point play tied it with 2:21 left.
Harden, whose foot has bothered him all season, will likely be a game-time decision for tonight’s meet. The high-scoring guard totaled 61 points to help Houston win both meetings against New York (3-4) last season by a combined 41 points.
If Harden is unable to go, Lin is likely to get another start after hitting a career-high nine 3-pointers on 15 attempts.
New York would like to avoid their fourth straight defeat at home, where they haven’t won since beating the Milwaukee Bucks in the season opener. The Knicks have been outscored by an average of 15.0 points during the home skid while allowing 110.3 points per game.
With Tyson Chandler out due to a non-displaced fracture of his right fibula, New York could have their hands full with Dwight Howard. The star center, who ranks second in the league with 14.9 rebounds per game, has 41 points and 39 rebounds in his last two.
Houston has won eight of their last nine games at Madison Square Garden.