|4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 PM CTNaN:� , January 23, 2019
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York Attendance: 18,819
Rockets' Harden takes high-scoring show to New York
Houston Rockets at New York Knicks
- The Rockets have won each of their last five games against the Knicks dating back to November 29, 2015. They have won 16 of the last 17 dating back to January 2010, and 24 of the last 26 dating back to January 2005.
- The Rockets are coming off a 28-point loss to the 76ers on Monday, their largest margin of defeat since April 2017 (29-point loss to LAC). Houston ranks fourth in the NBA with 120.8 points per game in January, having averaged 140.0 points in its previous two games before scoring 93 on Monday.
- The Knicks outscored the Thunder 15-6 on second-chance points on Monday (the Thunder lead the NBA with 12.4 offensive rebounds per game). Despite this, the Knicks are allowing 12.9 offensive rebounds per game this month, worst in the NBA.
- Allonzo Trier finished with 16 points, six rebounds and eight assists off the bench of Monday. It was his second game with at least 15/5/5 off the bench this season -- only three players have more such games.
- James Harden extended his 30-point streak to 20 games against the 76ers. He averaged 9.7 assists in the first 16 of these games. In the last four, he is averaging 4.3 assists.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 23 points on Monday, but he is averaging 14.1 points and 11.6 field-goal attempts in January. Both his field-goal attempts per game and points per game have declined in each month this season.
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James Harden is doing something nobody has seen since the heyday of Wilt Chamberlain. The New York Knicks are doing something to which Knicks fans have long grown accustomed.
Two entirely different streaks will be on display Wednesday night, when the Knicks host Harden and the Houston Rockets at Madison Square Garden.
Both teams were off Tuesday after losing Monday, when the Knicks fell to the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder 127-109, and the Rockets dropped a 121-93 decision to the host Philadelphia 76ers.
Harden sat out the fourth quarter of the Rockets' lopsided loss but still made history by scoring 37 points. It was his 20th consecutive 30-point effort, the longest streak in the NBA since Chamberlain scored at least 30 points in 20 straight games from Jan. 30, 1964, through March 1, 1964.
"I mean, he's incredible, he really is," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said afterward. "I can't tell you -- I've run out of words. My vocabulary is not that extensive."
There have been only three longer streaks of 30-point games in NBA history, all authored by Chamberlain. The longest is a 65-game run during the 1961-62 season, a stretch that included Chamberlain's 100-point game.
Such numbers seem untouchable, yet Harden, who has collected two 50-point games while racking up 200 points in his last four games, is in the process of making anything appear possible.
"Wilt was doing some obviously unbelievable things and (putting up) numbers that nobody will ever catch, but just to be in the same conversation as those guys is a credit to the work that I put in," Harden said.
"That's what you play this game for, to be listed with those guys, the top players. Obviously, I have a long way to go, but this is a pretty cool beginning."
The Knicks, meanwhile, are in the midst of a funk that shows no signs of ending soon. The loss Monday was the sixth straight and the 19th in the last 21 games for New York, which appears to be in a four-way race for the best chance at the top lottery pick with the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns.
As rough as the season has been for the Knicks, this is not even the franchise's worst stretch of the last five seasons. New York had a 1-17 run last year and went 1-26 over a 27-game stretch during the 2014-15 campaign.
Things aren't likely to get better against Harden and the Rockets. The Knicks are allowing 115.7 points per game, the third-highest figure in the NBA entering Tuesday, and in the process of infusing even more youth into a roster that was already among the most inexperienced in the league.
Head coach David Fizdale said center Enes Kanter, who is averaging a double-double (14.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game) and is a mere 26 years old, is going to be phased out of the rotation in favor of Luke Kornet and Mitchell Robinson.
Kanter might get a reprieve, though, after Kornet suffered an ankle injury Monday that will keep him out of action for at least the rest of this week.
"We're thinking big picture," Fizdale said following Monday's game. "Who's a winner? Who's going to be a guy that can help us win going into the future?"
--Field Level Media
Updated January 23, 2019