Knicks hold on to end Rockets' 6-game win streak, 125-123

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Former player agent and new New York Knicks president Leon Rose, center, takes a phone call during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets in New York, Monday, March 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The small-ball Rockets had big problems in New York.

The Knicks bullied them on the backboards and pummeled them in the paint, making an impressive first impression on their new team president.

Rookie guard RJ Barrett tied his season high with 27 points and the Knicks held on for a 125-123 victory on Monday night, snapping Houston's six-game winning streak.

“Everybody was locked in,” Barrett said.

The Rockets, playing without a traditional center, couldn't overcome the Knicks' whopping 65-34 rebounding advantage, or New York's 64-36 edge in points in the paint.

Julius Randle added 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Knicks, who held on after building a 21-point lead in front of Leon Rose, the longtime player agent who was hired Monday as team president.

“We played to our strengths and advantages, which is obviously the paint,” Randle said.

“We know they play small, so we should get a lot of second-chance opportunities on offensive boards if we miss shots.”