Instant replay: Rockets escape with win over Knicks

Instant replay: Rockets escape with win over Knicks
January 3, 2014, 10:30 pm
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Highlights: Rockets win by 2 over Knicks

Jan 3, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons (25) drives to the basket during the first quarter as New York Knicks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (5) defends at Toyota Center.

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

The turn of the calendar from 2013 to 2014 did not do anything to turn the Rockets away from their sluggish starts and careless ball-handing that plagued them to close the year. But unlike their final two games of 2013, they were able to make one final stop to give them a 102-100 win over the New York Knicks on Friday night at Toyota Center.

Aaron Brooks made a pair of free throws with just under 20 seconds remaining to give the Rockets their final points and margin of victory. Houston had just squandered a five-point lead at 105-100, but made stops on each of the last two Knicks possessions. The Rockets win allowed to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season  

The game was over when

It was over when the Knicks passed up about five good looks at the basket on their final possession following an offensive rebound. They settled for a wild-driving Beno Udrih shot that spun around the rim and out. That allowed the Rockets to escape with a two-point win. 

Highlight of the night

Harden with a great push on the fast break, looked like he was going to take it straight to the rim, but spotted Terrence Jones ready to rise. He floated him a beautiful alley-oop, that Jones threw down viciously to give Houston a seven-point lead, which would be their largest of the game.

Numbers of the night

Harden finished with 37 points on 10-of-19 on shooting. He scored 27 points in the second half and made all 12 of his free throws.

Next up

Other than the NBA All-Star break in February, the Rockets will enjoy their longest break in between games all season. Following tonight’s game, Houston will not play again until Wednesday, Jan. 8, when they face the Los Angeles Lakers for the second time this season. They met at Toyota Center on Nov. 7 with the Lakers beating the Rockets 99-98 on a Steve Blake 3-pointer with just 1.3 seconds remaining. Dwight Howard had 15 points and 14 rebounds against his former team and James Harden led all scorers with 35 points. Houston had won their last four games against the Lakers in Houston.