There are times when you win … and it’s like you haven’t won. But desire, at least. And the Knicks needed to win after losing to the Orlando Magic. They did, at Madison against the impoverished Rockets (106-99). The sensations … that for another day. It is a 9-7 now for a disappointing Knicks who he pulled out of the quagmire (84-89 mid-fourth quarter) Alec Burks, who added in that last quarter (34-26 for his team) 17 points (20 total), 4 steals, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. With 10 points from Quickley (13 total) and a bad finish from his rival (3/9 in field goals, 2/4 in free throws and 2 losses in the last 5 minutes) it was enough. But the image was downright bad. Again.
Julius Randle (16 + 10 + 9) is still far from the efficiency of last season, but at least Fournier (5/10 on 3s, 19 points) was on target on another too low-key day from RJ Barrett and Kemba Walker. Sometimes, this is the NBA calendar, what is in front helps a lot. And what was in front of the Madison was a team that is 1-15 and that has chained 14 defeats in a row. For which reconstruction post Harden is costing: 18-70 total since the 2020-21 season began. But it’s even worse: The Rockets arrived Feb. 11-10 at Feb. 4. Since then it is 7-60, a streak that includes a stretch of 20 losses in a row (the ninth worst in history, the top is 26) and this one of 14.
Silas is still looking for quintets to compete. And this time they did it with more weight in the Eric Gordon (15 points, 5 assists), Christian Wood (18 + 12 rebounds) surrounded by the rookie Jalen Green, who shot well (7/11) and finished with 16 points and a performance solid in his first professional game at Madison. The Turkish Alperen Sengun played good minutes (10 + 6 + 3) and gave the scare with a possible injury and the Rockets are still looking for their first win since the opening 1-1. Now come the Celtics, Bulls and Hornets. More curves.
BOSTON CELTICS 111-OKC THUNDER 105
The Texans’ next rival is the Boston Celtics, a team on the rise (and already positive, 9-8) that did not suffer any hangovers after their excellent victory against the Lakers. On back to back, in the Garden, the verdes they controlled a Thunder who lost four of five (6-10) and were fried in the second half (68-48) before a last quarter in which they reduced the lead to four points (in the last seconds) without threaten too seriously. Again, the best was Jayson Tatum (33 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 6/12 in triples) and again Dennis Schröder played well (29 + 4 + 6). In the Thunder, 16 points from Dort, another discreet day on Gilgeous-Alexander shooting (14 points, 13 shots) and as almost always, good minutes from rookie Josh Giddey (15 + 8 + 3, 4/6 on triples) .
ATLANTA HAWKS 115-CHARLOTTE HORNETS 105
A very good game in the East was not so good because of the rhythm, very arid. The Hawks, four straight wins after a bad pothole and 8-9 now, beat the insurgents Hornets (115-105), who saw their five-game winning streak halted and are now 10-8. The locals took advantage in double digits in the first quarter and that is how the game continued until the end, with the Hawks managing their command and the Hornets too low (42/102 in the shot, 42.6%). Bridges scored 25 points on 15/28 and LaMelo Ball had a triple-double (15 + 10 + 11) but with 5/18 shooting. Oubre was 0/7 in triples (8 points), Rozier in 4/13 in total shots (10)… Poor efficiency against much more solid Hawks. Trae Young led (19 points, 9 assists), between Capela (20 points and 15 rebounds) and Collins (11 + 8) They added 5 blocks and 17/21 in shots and the score on the outside was put by Huerter (17 points, 4/7 in triples) and Reddish (17 and 3/6).