Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks tips off this Wednesday (1/17/24) at 7:30pm EST in New York City, NY as a home game for the Knicks. Get Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks predictions and best bets below as our best bet is on the Knicks -5 in a bounce back spot against the Rockets.
Houston Rockets Vs. New York Knicks Prediction
The New York Knicks come off of a tough loss against the Orlando Magic after holding a lead through the first three quarters. An impressive feat early on as Jalen Brunson was a late scratch, though his presence was sorely missed down the stretch as the Knicks offense sputtered in the fourth quarter. The Knicks now get another defensive test against a Rockets team that will be playing their sixth consecutive road game. Brunson is trending toward playing, though the injury report has him listed as questionable.
Assuming Brunson is able to give it a go, the Knicks return a scoring force at the guard position to help crack the Rockets defense. Houston ranks sixth in Defensive Efficiency, holding opposing offenses Effective Field Goal Percentage to just 52.7%. High quality shot opportunities are relatively tough to come by for opposing offenses. That said, Houston’s defense has struggled with defending the perimeter at times, allowing opposing offenses to shoot 45.1% from deep in their last three contests.
That bodes well for the Knicks offense as they have transitioned their scheme to more perimeter shooting after last year’s struggles, now potentially getting Jalen Brunson back as well. Especially with the addition of OG Anunoby, bringing in a forward who shoots well over 40% from deep. With Brunson back at guard, his driving abilities can command defensive attention into the interior while creating gaps on the outside for his shooters to exploit.
On the other side of the court, the Rockets offense has struggled all season as they rank 20th in Offensive Efficiency. Their Effective Field Goal Percentage is 53.1% for the season, dipping to 49.3% in their last three contests. They now face a Knicks defense who ranks seventh in Defensive Efficiency when at home, smothering opposing shooters at both the perimeter and interior. With the Rockets struggling from deep, expect the Knicks to cheat down inside the arc to help contest high quality layup opportunities to slow down their scoring pace.
Houston Rockets Vs. New York Knicks Prediction: New York Knicks -5
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Houston Rockets Vs. New York Knicks Best Odds
After a loss to the Magic in their last game out, oddsmakers believe this is a bounce back spot for the Knicks as they opened New York as a -3.5 favorite. Bettors are in the same belief, betting them up to as high as -6 in some shops. The Knicks have the offensive capabilities to stretch out their impressive defense, as well as take advantage of their shooting woes to hold a lead.
As for the total, oddsmakers believed points would be scored at a slow rate as they opened the number at 217.5. Bettors believe points will come at a faster pace, betting the over up to as high as 221 as of writing. With the Rockets running on fumes, the total is a pass as it’s hard to determine how their offense finds life against a defense that thrives back at home.
Houston Rockets Starting Lineup
New York Knicks Starting Lineup
Houston Rockets Vs. New York Knicks Injuries
The Houston Rockets come into this contest relatively healthy while the New York Knicks injury report currently has Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson listed as questionable.
Houston Rockets Vs. New York Knicks Key Matchups
Can Julius Randle bounce back against the Rockets interior defense?
Julius Randle Vs. Rockets Interior Defense
With Brunson out in their last contest, Julius Randle faced more pressure from the Magic defense as they zeroed in on him as the Knicks go-to scorer. This forced him to sputter, shooting a lowly 5-18 from the field for just 15 total points.
Shotmaker Julius Randle pic.twitter.com/2XPSWqWMGF
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) January 12, 2024
Randle will be one of the instant benefactors of Brunson returning, allowing him to play more off the ball as an efficient scorer. Randle can stretch out the defense for Brunson to drive, waiting for a kick out for an open look from deep. Randle can also crash the interior, getting singular coverage on the block should the Rockets stay stretched out against an above average perimeter shooting team. Expect Randle to bounce back with higher quality scoring opportunities.