The New York Knicks made the most controversial decision of the offseason when they decided not to re-sign Jeremy Lin.
The point guard signed a three-year, $25 million offer sheet with the Houston Rockets, which the Knicks refused to match. The biggest sticking point was the clause in the contract that would force New York to pay Lin $15 million in the 2014-2015 season.
Ten games into the 2012-20123 NBA season, the Knicks don’t seem to be regretting their decision. When New York realized they wouldn’t be able to keep Lin, they traded for Raymond Felton from the Portland Trail Blazers. Felton’s level of play dropped significantly last year, but he thrived with the Knicks in 2010.
With the help of Felton, New York is tied for the league’s best record at 8-2. The point guard is averaging 15.7 points and 6.9 assists per game, and has been of the major reasons for their resurgence.
Lin hasn’t been as successful with the Rockets. He’s putting up 10 points and 6.3 assists per game, but on just 33 percent field goal shooting.
Now, Lin is set to face Felton and his former team for the first time this year. New York will visit Houston on Friday night for an 8 p.m. ET tip-off. You can watch a live stream online by purchasing NBA League Pass Broadband.
After winning their first two games, the Rockets have struggled. Since opening the year with two wins, they’ve lost seven of their last 10.
Lin’s first action against the Knicks might be the biggest story, but the outcome of the game might be determined by two of the league’s best scorers. James Harden and Carmelo Anthony are fourth and fifth, respectively, in points per game.
Harden made an immediate impression with Houston, after the team acquired him just days before the start of the season. He scored 82 total points in the Rockets first two games.
Since Harden burst onto the scene, he has cooled off a bit. Other than those first two performances, he’s averaging 21.2 points per game on just 38.4 percent shooting.
In his third season with the Knicks, Anthony has gotten off to his best start since being traded to New York. Playing mostly at power forward, he’s played, maybe, the best defense of his career, while leading the team in scoring.
With an undersized Anthony playing power forward, the Rockets biggest advantage may come on the glass. The Knicks consistently get outrebounded, while Houston is the fifth-best rebounding team in basketball.
The Knicks have played so well this year that they are favored on the road. The consensus betting line at most Las Vegas sportsbooks has them as four-point favorites.
Prediction: The Rockets have beat up on below-average opponents, with just one of their wins coming against a team with a winning record. The Knicks have one of the best defenses in the NBA, allowing 91.4 points per game. Houston is near the bottom of the league in field goal percentage, and New York should be able to keep them from taking easy shots The Knicks could come away with another double-digit victory.
Predicted Score: New York 100, Houston 88