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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, November 18th (All times eastern)

New York Knicks (2-4) at Houston Rockets (4-5), 9:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Houston Rockets try to bounce back from an embarrassing loss this evening when they welcome the New York Knicks to the Toyota Center.

On Tuesday, the Rockets dropped their third game in four tries, as they fell 88-84 to the lowly Atlanta Hawks. Yao Ming made good on 13-of-15 shot attempts in a 27-point, 11-rebound performance , while Tracy McGrady added 21 points.

However, the duo combined for just a single bucket during a final period in which Houston was outscored 26-15. Atlanta, which had won just once in its first six games, overcame an 11-point deficit in the final 6:11 to pick up the victory.

Ming, who needs two more field goals made to reach 1,000 for his career, has led the Rockets in points in each of their last three losses, averaging 28.0 points on .625 shooting in these games. In Houston�s one win over its last four games, Yao scored six points on 3-of-11 shooting.

Elsewhere on the milestone front, head coach Jeff Van Gundy, who won 248 games while with the Knicks from 1996-2001, needs three more wins for 300 in his career.

The Rockets, who will hit the road for four games following tonight's contest, are 2-2 at home this season. Last season Houston posted a 24-6 mark against the Eastern Conference, but this year it has just one win in four games against the East.

New York, meanwhile, has dropped two straight following a 99-81 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday at the SBC Center. Jamal Crawford paced the Knicks with a team-high 16 points, as the Knicks remained winless in three road games this season.

Stephon Marbury and Nazr Mohammed each added 13, while Tim Thomas scored 15 for New York, which has lost four-of-six to open the 2004-05 campaign.

Kurt Thomas had eight points with 11 rebounds in a losing cause. If he scores four points tonight, he will pass Walt Bellamy and move into 24th place on the Knicks all-time scoring list. Bellamy currently has 5,072 points.

Crawford, who was acquired from the Chicago Bulls in the offseason, has averaged 15 points and three assists in six games in a New York uniform.

The Knicks will close their four-game road trip against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Since NBA expansion to Dallas in 1980, New York has done the "Texas Triangle" -- three consecutive road games at Dallas, Houston and San Antonio -- 12 times. The Knicks have swept the Texas Triangle twice, won two games once, won one game five times and were swept four times - including in their last trip in 2001-02. Their overall record in Texas Triangle games is 13-23.

Last season, Houston took both matchups from the Knicks and has won five of the last eight meetings. New York has also lost three of its last four in Houston.

11/18 10:14:37 ET


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