The New York Knicks return to action Monday after a brief three-day break to take on the lowly Houston Rockets back home at Madison Square Garden.
This will be the two teams’ second and final meeting of the season, with the first being a 20-point blowout victory for the Knicks all the way back on Dec. 31.
The Knicks enter this game currently on a three-game losing streak that has seen their defense fall apart and have dropped games to under .500 squads such as the Timberwolves and Magic in that three-game stretch.
They will now look to snap the skid as they take on a Rockets team that has the second-worst record in the NBA at 18-57. Houston is also a horrendous 6-31 on the road this season and ranks toward the bottom in nearly every major statistical category.
Going up against a team that is fighting for a bid at the number one pick in the upcoming draft, the Knicks have a highly favorable matchup that should help get themselves back into rhythm as the playoffs are on the horizon.
[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”1622552″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]
The Knicks got some good news about Jalen Brunson’s injury:
Star point guard Jalen Brunson missed the Knicks’ previous game against the Orlando Magic with a sprained right hand. Immanuel Quickley started in his place and scored 25 points, but it was not enough as New York suffered a grueling loss to the Magic 111-106.
According to head coach Tom Thibodeau, Brunson went through all of practice on Sunday. Though he will be listed as questionable for the game, the fact that he went through practice is a great sign that he could make his return for Monday’s game.
Brunson’s potential return will be huge for the Knicks’ offense which is going to need him and his efficient shot-making as they look to clinch a playoff spot.
The main catalyst of this game will be how the defense performs. Over the last three games, the Knicks have struggled badly with guarding shooters, as they have been late on closing out and giving opposing players too much room to shoot the ball.
The Rockets rank dead last in the NBA in three-point percentage at 32.6% this season. Monday’s game would be the game for the Knicks to show what they are capable of on that side of the ball. Allowing another team to get hot from the perimeter would be very alarming and a definite cause for concern in a possible playoff scenario.
Looking at injuries for Monday, Brunson is questionable with the sprained right hand for the Knicks. For the Rockets, Jae’Sean Tate (knee) is a game-time decision.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_