The New York Knicks’ season has been a disappointment. On Jan. 8, the struggles continued as the Houston Rockets went into Madison Square Garden and handed the Knicks their 14th straight loss with a 120-96 loss — their longest single-season losing streak in franchise history.
The Rockets came in knowing the Knicks were struggling but did not take anything for granted.
"We're kind of looking at the bigger picture. Bigger picture is us playing at a high level, all on the same page. No matter what team we're playing against, we've got to play great," Rockets’ guard James Harden said. "So tonight was a challenge for us. The Knicks aren't doing so well but our mindset was to come in here and play Rockets basketball."
Harden scored a game-high 25 points, while also adding nine assists, four rebounds and three steals in the victory. The Rockets’ starting five all scored in the double digits: Trevor Ariza scored 18, Donatas Motiejunas 17, Patrick Beverley 14, and Dwight Howard had 13 points and 10 rebounds. As a team, the Rockets were on fire from the three-point-arc, making 16 threes.
The Knicks played without Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani due to injuries. They had to rely on the younger players to step up. The Knicks’ starting five combined to score only 26 points, including a scoreless performance from veteran Jose Calderon, who called it his worst career game.
"It's tough mentally, but we've got to be professional and just keep playing and working hard," Calderon said.
Rookies Travis Wear and Cleanthony Early had season highs with 21 and 16 points, respectively, while Langston Galloway — who just got called up from the NBA D-League a few days ago — had 19 points.
Both teams have a day off before getting back on the court on Saturday, Jan. 10. The Knicks, with the NBA-worst, 5-34 record, will host the Utah Jazz, while the Rockets (25-11) will host the Charlotte Hornets.