“I don’t like to play bad rookies. I like to play good rookies[.] I do like Jordan. I think he’ll be a nice player in the league, but that’s as far as it goes.” Knicks Coach, Mike D’Antoni
“Didn’t hear that, but what can I say? That’s him,” “He’s entitled to his own opinion, so if that’s the way he feels, that’s how he feels. I’m not trying to make a point. I’m just trying to play basketball. I just want to go out there and have fun and play my game.” Rockets Rookie Reserve Power Forward, Jordan Hill
“[W]hen you play with some of those guys five, six years, you definitely want to go out there and compete against them and show them up a little bit[.]” Knicks Guard-Forward, Tracy McGrady
“You can’t control Aaron Brooks making those big shots, which they were hard shots, [b]ut you can control get back. We didn’t get back.” Mike D’Antoni (Addressing Aaron Brooks 4th quarter heroics)
“Winning is always good, but it’s always better when you contribute to it, when you have a part and a hand in your team winning[.] Especially against a former team, it’s always fun.” Jared Jefferies (Discussing the Rockets win over his former Knicks team)
Yesterday’s 1pm matinee game against the Houston Rockets, could be deemed a battle of bruised ego’s vendettas and indirect slights. For both the Knicks and Rockets former players who switched teams during the February 18th Trade Deadline met again at Madison Square Garden. For some, like Tracy McGrady, the game was an opportunity to demonstrate to his former team that he still had talent and ability to contribute to an NBA basketball organization. For others, such as the Knicks 2009 Eighth place rookie draft pick, Jordan Hill, the matinee affair was yet another opportunity to log the playing time so often not given to him by his former organization’s coaching staff. However the game would end, some player or players from the Knicks-Rockets portion of the three team trade with the Sacramento Kings would obtain a measure of redemption against the former ballclub.
The Knicks took a 32-17 First Quarter lead on a combination of: Tracy McGrady’s inspired effort against his former Rockets team; exploiting Galinari’s size advantage against his smaller defender Kevin Martin; Toney Douglas’ hot shooting from Beyond the arc and David Lee’s return to provide hustle points in the paint. Off course the fact that the game was a 1pm matinee affair played well in the Knicks favor, as the Rockets came out flat in the 1st quarter against a more inspired Knicks team. Also it appeared that the Knicks were effective in exploiting their size advantage against a Rocket’s front line that is even further undersized than the Knicks front line.
In what has become expected from a plucky Houston Rocket’s ball club, the team came back in the 2nd quarter. The Rockets rally came primarily from the efforts of that team’s reserves. During the 2nd quarter Rockets Reserves Kyle Lowry, Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill chipped in Nine, Eight and Seven points respectively. A 20-5 run by the Rockets received contributions from players such as Trevor Ariza, Hill, Lowry and Budinger who chipped in Six, Five, Four and Three points each. On the strength of the Rockets Reserves and quick guard play by Lowry and starter Aaron Brooks, the Rockets fought their way back into the game and outscored the Knicks in that quarter by a 45-32 margin. The Knicks would enter half time ahead 64-62 paced by Lee’s 17 points and another strong performance by Gallinari and Douglas who had 16 and 15 points respectively. The Rockets were paced by Ariza and Kevin Martin who had 12 each by half time.
The third quarter would result in a standstill between the Rockets and Knicks which would bring the Knicks into a the Fourth quarter holding on to a two point lead. In the Fourth quarter both teams continued to exchange baskets until the Knicks clawed their way to a three point lead with 3:34 remaining in the game. But the Knicks would lose the lead as the Rockets super-quick guard Aaron Brooks went on his own 7-0 run against the Knicks. During that run, Brooks would score on a three pointer, a floater/hook in the lane and a nifty cross over shake of Gallinari, which was pretty well defended but went in. Brooks late game offensive heroics were coupled with ex-Knick Jared Jefferies defensive surge, which resulted in drawing two offensive fouls against Knicks rookie guard, Toney Douglas, and getting two blocked shots, against McGrady and Lee.
At games end the very defensive presence and glue type player the Knicks forsook, in order to horde ever more cap space, denied that same Knicks organization the opportunity to come out with a win. For Jordan Hill yet another in a series of solid performances (13 points 5 rebounds/3 offensive and 3 assists) spoke louder than his measured responses to recent words from Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni that reffered to Hill as a “bad rookie.”
Knicks Players of the Game
|HOUSTON ROCKETS (36-32)|
|D. Andersen||DNP - COACH'S DECISION|
|H. Armstrong||DNP - COACH'S DECISION|
|50.6%||40.0%||86.7%||TEAM REBS: 8||TOTAL TO: 14|
|NEW YORK KNICKS (25-45)|
|J. Bender||DND - FRACTURED LEFT FOURTH METACARPAL|
|W. Chandler||DND - SORE LEFT GROIN|
|E. House||DND - SORE RIGHT ACHILLES|
|S. Rodriguez||DNP - COACH'S DECISION|