by Charlie O. Mallonee
“48” – that is the most import number the Sacramento Kings have to drill into their minds right now. They need to learn that a NBA basketball last for 48 minutes and that means as a team the Kings need to play hard for 48 minutes.
The Kings did not play hard for all 48 minutes in the game at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday night and Sacramento lost to the Knicks 106-98. This was an unusual game in the sense it was lost in the first half and almost redeemed in the second half, but that is exactly how so many games in the NBA are lost.
Shots would not fall for the Kings in the first half
The Kings shot just 28.6-percent (14-49) in the first half. The term is often used that “the basket had a lid on it”. Well in the first of the game on Sunday for Sacramento, the basket had a lid on it. The Kings were not taking bad shots . The Knicks were not playing great defense. Literally, the ball would not fall through the hoop. The Kings went 9-for-26 in the paint.
The Knicks did not shoot the lights out of the Garden. They shot 42.3-percent (22-for-52) in the first half of the game. New York shot just 36.7-percent in the first quarter.
As the teams headed to the locker rooms at the half, the Kings were lucky to trailing by just 14 points, 55-41.
The Kings came alive in the third quarter
The third quarter began like the second quarter ended. The Knicks kept pouring it on behind the scoring of Porzingis and Anthony and opened up a 20-point lead with 7:59 left to play in the period. At that point, the Kings began to turn the game around.
Starting with a Rudy Gay 25-foot 3-point basket at the 7:02 mark, the Kings began to cut into the Knicks lead. Led by Cousins’ 11 points and Gay’s 10 points the Kings cut the New York lead to one point with 48-seconds remaining in the quarter. At the end of three quarters, New York led the game 81-77.
The Kings came close in the fourth quarter but could not close the deal
The Knicks behind the play of Prozingis opened the lead back up to eight points. Cousins kept the Kings close and Sacramento cut the New York lead down to two points with help of strong play from Gay, Collison and Cauley-Stein.
Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Jennings took over from there adding to the Knicks lead and the Kings were unable to respond. Sacramento had spent so much energy working their way back into the game – they did not have enough left in the tank to fight back overcome the Knicks lead.
The Knicks won the game 106-98.
Cousins was the star of the game again for Sacramento (7-13)
- The big center recorded his 10th double-double with 36 points and 12 rebounds. He also had four assists and three blocked shots. Cousins was 9-for-30 shooting from the field
- Rudy Gay scored 22 points shooting 7-for-18 and grabbing nine rebounds
- Darren Collison put up 13 points and dished out six assists
- Kosta Koufos scored only two points but he pulled down 11 rebounds that included five offensive rebounds
- Willie Cauley-Stein played 23 minutes scoring nine points and hauling in four rebounds. Coach Dave Joerger said Cauley-Stein’s length on defense matched up well against Prozingis
- The Kings shot just 32.3-percent (31-96) as team for the game
The usual suspects came through for the Knicks (11-9)
- The Knicks had four players score in double figures while shooting 44.3-percent (39-for-88) from the floor. NYK also shot 37.9-percent (11-for-29) from 3-point range
- Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose each scored 20 points in the game. Rose continues to look more like the Rose of old all the time
- Brandon Jennings put up 19 points with 4-of-5 his scores being 3-point baskets. He was also a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line
- Kristaps Porzingis started the game slowly but finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds
Up next on the schedule
The Kings wrap up their five game road trip on Wednesday night in Dallas with what has become a must win game over the terrible Mavericks. A win would let the Kings finish the road trip 2-3.
The Knicks also hit the road and visit South Beach to take on the Heat on Tuesday night.