The struggling Rockets are 2-6 on the season and have pulled off their wins over the last three games, including Friday's 102-99 triumph at Indiana. Brad Miller finished with a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds, while Kevin Martin netted 20 points for Houston, which rebounded from a loss at Washington to kick off the road trip.
"Five of our six losses have been where we've had the lead with five minutes to go -- some with three minutes," Miller said. "Just to finally close it out...it was big for us to finally win one of these games and not let it slip away."
Luis Scola contributed 16 points and nine rebounds, and Kyle Lowry added 13 points and seven assists in a winning effort. The Rockets are 1-4 away from home this season. In injury news for the team, young forward Chase Budinger is doubtful for Sunday's game with a sprained left ankle. Houston is already without center Yao Ming, who's sidelined with an ankle sprain as well.
New York will try to put the brakes on a four-game losing streak and is coming off a disappointing loss at Minnesota. In the 112-103 setback on Friday, Timberwolves forward Kevin Love single-handedly carried his team to victory with 31 points and 31 rebounds, an accomplishment something no player has done since 1982.
Love's 30-30 night was the first in the NBA since Moses Malone turned the trick 28 years ago, and his 31 rebounds set a franchise record for the Timberwolves, who were down by as many as 21 points. Minnesota outrebounded New York by a 56-43 margin and scored 48 points in the paint.
Danilo Gallinari and Raymond Felton paced five players in double figures with 25 and 22 points, respectively, for the Knicks, who shot 27.9 percent from the field in the second half and were outscored, 32-16, in the fourth quarter. Wilson Chandler had 17 points, seven assists and six boards in defeat.
Amare Stoudemire was in foul trouble and had 14 points and nine rebounds.
"It's definitely tough," Stoudemire said after the game. "But this just goes on my shoulders. I take this loss on me. I got in foul trouble. Once I got in foul trouble, they took advantage of that."
New York will hit the road to Denver, Sacramento, Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers after hosting the Rockets.
Houston swept the home-and-home series with the Knicks a season ago and has won 12 of the previous 14 meetings in the series. The Rockets have also won six of their last seven games at MSG.