Two teams headed in different directions square off in the Big Apple as the Houston Rockets face the New York Knicks on Monday night. Coach Rick needs to head in a different direction after an ugly Saturday. James Harden and Russell Westbrook will help put us back on course.
Game: Houston Rockets (39-20, 29-29-1 ATS) at New York Knicks (18-42, 31-28-1 ATS)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Monday, March 02, 2020
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Current Line: NYK +9.5 Total: 229.5
TV Coverage: AT&T SportsNet Southwest, MSG, Sportsnet One
The Rockets will be looking for their seventh straight victory over a Knicks team that did earn a rare win in its last outing. New York had lost six in a row before beating Chicago 125-115 on Saturday night.
It was just the 18th win this season for the Knicks, who are working under their second coach of the season.
Mike Miller got the death sentence after David Fizdale was let go earlier this season.
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Miller is likely counting the days until his team’s final 22 games are played. Miller is praying that he doesn’t suffer the fate of his six predecessors in New York.
Since the 2011-12 season (the last time the Knicks made the playoffs), New York has had six head coaches. None have ever landed another NBA head coaching job since.
Harden & Westbrook Gone GQ
Miller and the Knicks will have their hands full on Monday night. They will try to stop one of the greatest scoring duos in the history of the league – James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Harden is averaging an NBA-best 34.9 points per game while Westbrook checks in at 27.6 per game. Harden and Westbrook are the first teammates to score 20 points or more in 30 straight games since the legendary pair of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor of the 1961-62 Los Angeles Lakers.
James Harden & Russell Westbrook Break Down Their NBA Tunnel Style | GQ Sports
Ironically, the Knicks last playoff appearance came when current Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni was in New York. D’Antoni has all but locked up another Houston playoff appearance. The Rockets lead the Southwest Division and are currently fourth in the Western Conference standings.
The question for Houston is can they win a conference finals series?
Right now though, they just need to focus on beating New York. It is something the Rockets have done nine of the past ten times the two teams have met. That includes a current stretch of eight straight.
The last time the Knicks beat the Rockets was during the 2015-16 season.
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In the first meeting this season, Houston was a 12-point home favorite. The Rockets won by eleven, 123-112.
More importantly, Houston’s record against the spread in their last six games is impressive. In the Rockets streak of six straight win, they own a 4-1-1 record ATS. Houston is also 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 games against teams from the Atlantic Division.
On the Knicks end, they are just 2-4 ATS in their last six games. Yes, one of those covers was against Houston, but not tonight.
Remember, Harden put up 61 in the Rockets win at New York last season and Westbrook averages 26.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 8.3 assists in 19 career games against the Knicks.
Today’s Free NBA Free Pick Against the Spread: Houston -9.5
Pick by Coach Rick