3 keys to getting the Knicks to defeat the putrid Rockets team

The New York Knicks just suffered a disappointing loss to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night, and they’ll be looking to bounce back against another mediocre opponent from the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have lost 13 straight games and have been significantly outscored in most of them.

The Knicks must see it as a good-natured game, using Houston as a trampoline to propel themselves forward against better opposition. Good teams dominate bad ones, so we’ll learn a lot about a New York side struggling to use their chemistry and fluidity on offense. The starters need to ramp up and take the reins instead of relying on the second team to produce and fill in their gaps.

Three keys to getting the Knicks to beat the Rockets at home:

1.) Play Knicks basketball

Knicks basketball begins and ends with one thing, a dominant inside defense. The Rockets have a few suitable players, including Christian Wood, their center. Limiting him in the paint is essential, but the Knicks also need to score effectively beyond the arc. The Knicks seem to identify as a live three-point team style, and if that is to be the case, they need to be in the top five of the 3-point percentages. Currently, the Knicks sit 6th in the league at 36.4%, a number that has plummeted in recent weeks.

The Knicks began to settle into ranged attempts, registering 13.9 per game, good for the 10th in the NBA. When reversing shots with an effective clip their percentage usually goes up, but that hasn’t been enough to beat some of the more vulnerable teams on their schedule.

Sadly, New York haven’t been able to combine a good three-point shot with great perimeter defense, something that has improved in recent days with Immanuel Quickley playing great press, but they need to more than the starting unit.

2.) Protect the paint

As stated above, limiting Christian Wood must be a priority, given his 16.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Wood is by no means a 3-point sniper, and with Nerlens Noel returning on Saturday night, it’s a great opportunity for the Knicks to bounce back with excellent defensive play.

Taj Gibson has filled the role of Noel in recent days as he heals from a right knee injury, and with Mitchell Robinson also beaten at times, the Knicks lacked inner strength and rebound. Noel is not only a great shot blocker, but he’s a solid rebounder who gives the Knicks more second chances.

3.) Jalen Green Guard Press

One clash that could be of great benefit to the Knicks is that of Immanuel Quickley, press keeper, Houston star rookie Jalen Green. Green is averaging 14.4 points per game with 36.5% shooting from the field and 27.9% shooting from three. He has undoubtedly struggled to shoot to open his NBA account, but he remains a quality young player the Knicks cannot underestimate.

Quickley found his rhythm in defense and offense, but his ability to stay up to a ball handler and press him all over the court proved formidable in his perimeter strategy.

I would love to see Quickley get some meaningful minutes in this contest, showing what he can do on both sides of the ball.

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