Alec Burks
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks got another ugly win against the NBA-worst Houston Rockets.

Ugly wins are still wins. Just ask the New York Knicks.

It took until the fourth quarter, but the Knicks improved to 9-7 against the Houston Rockets. Coming into the game, Houston had just one win and lost 13 straight.

Then, the Rockets led New York 21-13 after the first quarter because, once again, the Knicks had no offensive flow. Even after rallying to tie at halftime, New York’s struggles were visible against the worst team in the league.

It was a long and bumpy road but thanks to the bench’s heroics, the New York Knicks pulled off a 106-99 win. They got outrebounded 61-43, but shot just well enough and outscored the Rockets 34-26 in the fourth quarter.

How was this win so ugly? Let’s begin.


Refs’ night off

We’ve all seen it, fans. The NBA officials are letting a lot of contact slide this season. This game was no different, with plenty of players taking hard falls under the basket. Even Mitchell Robinson exited early with a bruised nose. The score was close not only because the New York Knicks largely underperformed, but because there were ridiculous no-calls.



The Knicks brought the D

Even with another rough night on offense, the New York Knicks were aggressive on defense. They had 12 steals and eight blocks while forcing 22 turnovers. The Rockets may have led for most of the game, but it was more because the Knicks played that badly. If anything, they’re lucky the Knicks weren’t at their best.



Evan Fournier returns

If any New York Knicks player needed a good game, it was Fournier. He played some quality fourth quarter minutes against Houston after largely spending the fourth on the bench the last few games. Tonight, he drilled five threes and finished with 19 points. Even better, he tied the game with a key basket in the fourth and then grabbed an important rebound.

Once Fournier’s back in his flow on offense, his teammates should hopefully follow.


Player of the Game: Alec Burks

In the fourth quarter, Burks put the team on his back. He finished with 20 points, 17 of which came in the final frame. Burks also drilled five threes in the fourth and was even more aggressive on defense, coming away with five steals. Throw in his three assists, and unselfish play all around makes Burks tonight’s hero.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.