James Harden had 30 points and 15 assists, and the Houston Rockets routed the Knicks 118-99 on Wednesday night.
The NBA's leader coming into the day with 11.8 assists per game toyed with the Knicks defense, setting up teammates for lobs or open 3-pointers as the Rockets easily bounced back from a loss in Cleveland a night earlier.
Eric Gordon added 21 points for Houston, which has won seven straight at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks haven't defeated the Rockets at home since Jan. 26, 2009, so long ago that their coach was current Houston coach Mike D'Antoni.
Harden also grabbed six rebounds, a night after he had 41 points and 15 assists in the Rockets' 128-120 loss in Cleveland.
Carmelo Anthony scored 21 points for the Knicks, who besides their poor defense also heard loud boos for their rebounding and turnovers in a dismal performance.
Both teams were playing for the second straight night, but only the Knicks appeared to have tired legs. Houston quickly extended a 33-25 lead after one quarter into double digits and was ahead 68-51 at halftime.
Gordon opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to make it a 20-point game and Harden closed it with another 3 that sent the Rockets to the fourth quarter with a 100-78 lead.
Rockets: C Nene sat out to rest on the second night of the Rockets' back-to-back. ... D'Antoni went 121-167 with the Knicks from 2008 until resigning in March 2012.
Knicks: New York has lost 21 of the last 23 meetings with Houston. ... Derrick Rose and Courtney Lee scored 16 points each.
DEKKER HITS THE DECK
Sam Dekker was headed for what would have been a breakaway basket when he stumbled and fell near the free throw line, the ball bouncing off the court, then off his face and out of bounds. Dekker went to the court again moments later after Kyle O'Quinn blocked his shot.
HORNACEK IN HOUSTON?
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, after being fired in Phoenix, interviewed for the Houston job last spring before the Rockets hired D'Antoni. With Harden in place and believing Ryan Anderson would sign there, Hornacek was interested. "When you have James and then those guys, sure, it looked like a team that will play an exciting game," Hornacek said. "Obviously the pieces they've added have made them dynamic on the offensive end. They're going to be hard to stop and so when you look around at jobs and they call you and want to talk, that was great."
CHICAGO IS HIS KIND OF TOWN
Rose was hoping the World Series went to the Cubs, who had his son, 3-year-old Derrick Jr., throw out a first pitch earlier this season. On Friday, the Chicago native will be hoping to beat the Bulls in his first game against his former team. He expects a mixed reception from fans. "I know I'm going to get some boos here and there but it's all part of the game, it's all part of the sport," he said. "It's not going to affect the way I play or how badly I want to win that game."
Rockets: Visit Atlanta on Saturday to continue five-game trip with visit to former Houston center Dwight Howard. The Hawks have won the last five meetings.
Knicks: Visit Chicago on Friday in first trip back to the United Center for former Bulls All-Stars Rose and Joakim Noah.