Before every Knicks game I will write a game plan to implement vs their opponent. Tonight the Knicks play Houston on TNT at 8pm. So lets chalk it up!
Use Bargnani early and often vs Howard. Utilize Bargnani's ability to shoot from mid and long range. Allow Bargnani to take Howard off the dribble from the elbow extended. This will pull Howard out of the paint, allowing guard penetration to the rim as well as more opportunities for offensive rebounding by Melo. If this happens I'd look for Melo to have a big rebounding night. Unfortunately, Bargnani could have a low rebounding night if this happens.
Post Melo. If Bargnani can hit shots and pull Howard out of the paint. Surround Melo with shooters: Pablo, Shump, Smith, and Melo can do work in the post.
Take efficient shots. Knicks cant afford to go ISO mode tonight. Standing still, taking inefficient shots will allow the Houston to rebound and get out and run. Knicks must be in constant motion, making the Rockets work on defense and take efficient shots.
Crash boards. Knicks must have guards crashing boards and helping the bigs on the boards.
Take care of the ball. Knicks are 3rd in the league for lowest turnovers. Knicks must continue to take care of the ball. This can neutralize their lack of rebounding.
Play to strength. Houston is big, but Knicks strength is playing small. Knicks must stay with their strength and pull Houstons big men away from the basket with players like Melo, Metta and Bargnani.
Pressure the guards. The Rockets are 2nd in the league in turnovers averaging 19.6 per game. If the Knicks can create turnovers, they can help neutralize Houstons rebounding edge. Turnovers lead to easy baskets and keep the Knicks with momentum.
Zone it Up. Knicks should use a zone defense to help close off the middle, limit guard penetration and help with team rebounding. If the Knicks use a zone defense they must close out on shooters, protecting the three point line. If Harden(if he plays), Lin and Parsons get hot from the three point line, the Knicks will be in trouble. This will open up post play for Howard and the Knicks do not want Howard getting off down low.
Transition Defense. Knicks will shoot threes. They need to make sure they are getting back on defense in transition. They do not want this team off and running.
Woody needs to use Kenyon Martin. Knicks will need his energy and aggressiveness. Woody should also use Cole Aldrich, Knicks can use his rebounding and fouls on Howard. Keep a short leash on Amar'e... if he lapses on defense pull him.