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Knicks can't score down stretch or stop Rockets' Brooks

New York Knicks' Chris Duhan (1) passes the

New York Knicks' Chris Duhan (1) passes the ball around Houston Rockets' Aaron Brooks. (January 9, 2010) Credit: AP

HOUSTON - Jared Jeffries finally met a point guard he couldn't stop. Aaron Brooks, a 6-foot guard who weighs barely 160 pounds, was too much for even the Knicks' versatile stopper as the Knicks lost, 105-96, to the Rockets at Toyota Center last night.

Brooks scored 20 points, including 10 in the third quarter, and the 6-11 Jeffries, who has proved to be an effective weapon against opposing point guards, couldn't contain the lightning-quick Brooks, who hit his first four shots of the second half to help turn a six-point halftime deficit into a lead.

David Lee had 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks (15-21), who saw the end of a three-game winning streak. Lee had a great battle with Rockets power forward Luis Scola, who had 23 points and seven rebounds.

Nate Robinson had 20 points off the bench and spent most of the second half trying to keep Brooks in front of him. Robinson (four) and Wilson Chandler combined for nine of the team's 15 turnovers in the game.

The Knicks were in command early and led by as many as 13 points with 2:02 left in the second quarter. But Brooks hit a runner, then a three-pointer to spark a 9-2 run to end the half with the Knicks holding a 57-51 lead. Brooks later tied the score at 65 with 6:49 left in the third on a fadeaway and then put the Rockets (21-16) ahead at 74-73, their first lead since early in the game on another fade with 3:37 left in the third.

The Knicks still managed to hold a 79-78 advantage going into the fourth, but after Chase Budinger tied it at 82 with 10:57 left, Robinson threw a bad pass that Budinger stole and dribbled in for a dunk to put the Rockets ahead for good.

Speaking of the Rockets, here's why exiled Tracy McGrady's career won't continue in New York: According to several sources with knowledge of the situation, the Rockets would want a young player such as Jordan Hill as part of any deal and wouldn't take back any contracts that go beyond 2010.

But the Knicks - who are owned by Cablevision, which also owns Newsday - still value their 2009 lottery pick, whom they chose over guards such as Brandon Jennings and Ty Lawson.

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