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Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks - 1/3/14

New York Knicks (10-21) at Houston Rockets (21-13)

NBA Basketball: Friday, January 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Toyota Center)

The Line: Houston Rockets -11 -- Over/Under: 206.5 See the Latest Odds


The New York Knicks will be looking for another big upset tonight when they take on the Houston Rockets on NBA Friday.

Coming off three straight double digit losses, I gave the Knicks next to no chance heading in San Antonio last night, but it was Carmelo Anthony to the rescue as he returned to the lineup to pour in 27 points on 10 of 20 shooting. Earlier in the season, Anthony's big scoring nights were amounting to nothing because the Knicks were still getting blown out in the end, but last night Iman Shumpert had a monster game of 27 points on 10 of 13 shooting including six of eight from the three point line. The four days of rest that New York enjoyed seemed to be exactly what they needed as they shocked the Spurs to improve to 10-21 overall and 6-9 ont he road.

Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks - 1/3/14

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, the Rockets had won four of five before consecutive losses to the Thunder and the Kings had them crashing back to earth. Fatigue may have played a factor in their blowout loss to the Thunder last Sunday, but there's no real excuse to losing to the Kings in your own building. James Harden started off hot and made five threes to finish with 38 points, while the rest of the starters all finished in double figures in scoring, but the Rockets' inconsistency was on show once again as they got outscored by 30-20 in the fourth quarter after pouring in 34 points in the third quarter. Take nothing away from the Kings, but it just seems like the Rockets are still adjusting to having a dominant inside post player because they still aren't sure whether to go to Howard in the post or just move the ball around and jack up threes. 

In ATS trends, the Knicks are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games playing on no rest and 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games against a team with a winning record, while the Rockets are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a loss and 1-3-1 ATS in their last five home games against a team with a losing road record.

Head to head, the Knicks are 1-12 ATS in the last 13 meetings and 0-6 ATS in the last six meetings in Houston.

My initial pick was to jump on the Knicks with the points and hope they can keep this game to within single digits, but there's just no way I can ignore how one-sided the Rockets' ATS trends are when playing the Knicks. Houston should come into tonight with a lot of focus because it's their first game of the year after a couple nights off, so that's where I'm leaning.

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Houston -11.5

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