The Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks were blown out by the Houston Rockets at MSG. It marked the second consecutive dominant performance for the Rockets over the Knicks this season.
The primary problem was the ease with which Jeremy Lin and James Harden penetrated to the basket. Lin had 22 points and Harden had 28. The two starting guards combined to shoot over 50% from the field. The combined for 14 rebounds and 11 assists as well. Lin's and Harden's numbers would have been better had they not missed multiple wide open layups.
The Knicks uncharacteristically shot poorly, defended the perimeter poorly, defended the paint poorly, and turned the ball over a season high 17 times. Otherwise, the Knicks played halfway decent. New York couldn't hit from three or the free throw line.
Chris Copeland became an NBA player in this one .In his second career start, he scored 29 points on 11 for 19 shooting. J.R. Smith scored 17 on 7 for 13 from the field. Pablo Prigioni added 16 in garbage time. But Jason Kidd and Steve Novak both were subpar. Raymond Felton had more shots than points and nearly as many turnovers as assists. Tyson Chandler grabbed 18 rebounds, but wasn't a factor offensively.
Houston led for most of the first half, thanks to 27-11 second quarter. But the Knicks cut the lead down to 5 in the third quarter. The Rockets were done playing. The lead immediately ballooned up to 18. It hovered over 20 and the Knicks were done. They fought back enough in the fourth to make the score respectable.
With the 109-96 loss, the Knicks fell to 18-6 and lost their first game of the season at home.