2012 NBA schedule: Rockets to face pair of Eastern Conference opponents this week

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden and the Houston Rockets will meet both the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers this week in pivotal non-conference games.

Victorious in eight of their 10 games against teams from the Eastern Conference this season, the Houston Rockets will try to keep the trend going this week with a pair of meetings with playoff contenders from their rival conference.

Houston will kick off the week in style with a marquee Monday night game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, a contest that will be televised nationally on NBATV. The Knicks were promptly blown out by Houston, 131-103, back on Nov. 23 at the Toyota Center, and will clearly be eager to exact a bit of revenge on their home court in the rematch. Along with sporting a 2-7 mark away on the road, the Rockets have now dropped seven consecutive games outside of the state of Texas.

Kevin McHale's young team will then return home for a mid-week battle with the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night at the Toyota Center. The Rockets won the only meeting between the two teams last season, but may find it difficult to find offense against a Philadelphia defense that currently ranks in the top 10 in the NBA in points allowed.

The Week Ahead

Monday, Dec. 17 - at New York Knicks - 6:30 p.m. CT

Wednesday, Dec. 19 - vs. Philadelphia 76ers - 7 p.m. CT

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