by Jonah Ballow
NYKnicks.com
@jonahballow

How It Happened:
On the second of a back-to-back, the Knicks faced a difficult task in Houston against of the most potent offenses in the league.  Adding to the challenge was not only the loss of Enes Kanter but also Kristaps Porzingis.  Kanter missed last night’s game due to back spasms and he could not suit up against the Rockets tonight.  Porzingis was a late scratch after suffering from low back tightness prior to tip off.  Despite the depleted frontcourt, New York raced out a 29-7 lead in the first quarter.  Michael Beasley and Courtney Lee combined for 32 of the Knicks 39 points in the period.  After New York’s lead was trimmed to three points at the half, Houston took over in the third quarter by launching a 13-2 run and outscoring the Knicks 37-19.  The Rockets gained enough separation in that crucial stanza and they never looked back in capturing the 117-102 victory.  James Harden posted a game-high 37 points and Chris Paul registered 13 assists.

Knick of the Night:
Head coach Jeff Hornacek started Beasley in place of Porzingis tonight.  At the power forward spot, Beasley was impactful early with 24 of his 30 points taking place in the first half.  Beasley was extremely efficient in hitting 14-of-23 shoots from the floor in 36 minutes.  He also hauled down eight rebounds.

Notables:
Lee started hot again tonight and finished with 17 points, Kyle O’Quinn performed well at the starting center spot by scoring 20 and grabbing a team-high 15 boards.  Jarrett Jack dished out eight assists in 32 minutes.

Statistically Speaking:
New York managed to outscore the Rockets 58-42 in the paint.  However, Houston won the battle on the break by scoring 19 points in transition.

Next Up:
The Knicks will return home to face the Portland Trail Blazers at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.