Knicks-Rockets: Observations

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Let’s remember that the Knicks are indeed shorthanded and that the Houston Rockets have two bona fide All-Stars. This wasn’t losing at home to the Charlotte Bobcats. It stunk because it was another game – like the loss in Chicago – that came down to the end and was there for the taking. But there were some positives to go along with the continuing concerns. Some thoughts:

- I’m going to get Jeremy Lin out of the way. Lin played well. He’s having a pretty good year so far. But don’t make him the story of last night’s game, because he simply wasn’t. There has been a lot of vitriol on BOTH sides of the Lin debate this week leading up to the game, so let me throw in my quick thoughts on the now nearly two-year-old saga. I’ve chosen to get over that Jeremy Lin is no longer a Knick. Letting a young, talented asset go for nothing in return is bad business, always. So the move itself was bad. But it wasn’t franchise-crippling, and the Knicks proved that by having their best year in a very long time last season. I’ve chosen to view Jeremy Lin simply as a former Knick who is now a Houston Rocket. I’m not going to freak out, like a lot of Knicks fans do, every time he has a good game. I don’t do that when Trevor Ariza – another former Knick who was a young, talented asset given away in a crappy move – has a good game. So I’m not doing it with Lin. It’s over.

- Andrea Bargnani has proven to be a pretty dependable 1-on-1 post defender. Two nights in a row he’s done an admirable job on talented post players, Al Horford and Dwight Howard. Offensively, he continued last night to show that he’s a versatile threat – he hit from mid-range with pretty good efficiency, and at times he finally spaced the floor well for Carmelo Anthony by dragging Howard out of the paint. Defensively, it’s clear that when he needs to navigate through picks, make a proper rotation or help, he generally gets pretty lost out there. Let’s hope teams keep trying to bully him down low instead of making him move around.

- As for Melo, well, dude was on fire all night. It’s tough to lose a game when you get 45 from him. But big picture, his shooting is starting to come around and that only bodes well. He also continues to rebound well (with 10 last night). And he still doesn’t get calls. sounds like sour grapes. Maybe it is. But it really seems like he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt enough for a guy of his stature.

- That final would-have-been-amazing-four-point-play…I think the ref made the right call. It looks like James Harden got Melo with the body first, then slapped his arm, then Melo went up for the shot. But I’ve seen weirder and worse continuation calls than that. It wouldn’t have be the craziest thing in the world if they gave it to him. And I don’t know whether to blame Anthony or Mike Woodson for Anthony intentionally fouling Howard with less than two minutes left, giving the Rockets a free point in a close, late game, so just blame them both I guess.

- 74 games left. Next up, the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday at MSG, where the Knicks will look to avoid a harrowing five-game home losing streak.

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