by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings (8-13) have the opportunity to take revenge on the New York Knicks (12-10) for the 106-98 beating they took in the Garden last Sunday night. The Kings shot just 32-percent (31-for-97) in the game and still managed come within two points of the lead with 4:34 to go in the contest before falling back and losing by eight points.
DeMarcus Cousins was the Kings leading scorer with 36 points and he made it a double-double by adding in 13 rebounds. The Knicks scoring was led by Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose who each scored 20 points against Sacramento. The New York bench outscored the Kings bench 44-22.
Knicks are not a great road team
New York is just 3-6 on the road this season. The game tonight with the Kings begins a five-game road trip for the Knicks that will take them to Sac, Los Angeles (Lakers), Phoenix, Golden State and Denver. They have no back-to-back games on the road trip.
Knicks are coming off a big loss at home
New York was run out of the Garden on Wednesday night by the Cleveland Cavaliers 126-94. Kyrie Irving led the Cleveland scoring attack with 28 points while LeBron James added 25 points to go with seven assists. Kevin Love scored 21 for the Cavs.
Brandon Jennings started for the Knicks in place of the injured Derrick Rose (sore lower back) and was the leading scorer for NYK with 16 points and three assists. Courtney Lee added 15 points and Kristaps Porzingis recorded 12 points in the loss.
Interesting side note from the Cavs – NYK game, with that many points scored you expect there to have been at least one double-double posted but there were none achieved in that game.
Kings are coming off a road win
Sacramento beat the Mavericks in Dallas 120-89 on Wednesday night in Dallas. The Mavs were without Dirk Nowitzki, Jose Juan Barea, Andrew Bogut and Seth Curry due to injuries. So with that depleted Mavericks lineup, the Kings should have run away with the game.
Cousins was once again the man with 24 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Rudy Gay and Darren Collison scored 19 points each. Garrett Temple put up 17 points on the board going a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range.
Sacramento shot 56-percent (47-for-84) from the field and 45.5-percent (10-for-22) from 3-point land. The Kings were right on target with a perfect 2-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio of 28 to 14.
The Dallas win allowed the Kings to finish the road trip with a 2-3 record.
NYK injury status
Derrick Rose is nursing a sore back. He is listed as questionable for tonight’s game which means there is a 50-percent chance of him playing.
The Kings are reporting no injuries at this time.
Keys to a Kings victory
The main ingredient for a Sacramento victory is a decent shooting percentage. The Kings shot under 40-percent in New York City and still kept the game close. Tonight they must come out and shoot well right from the opening tip-off in order to avoid an embarrassment on their home court.
For entertainment purposes only
FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Kings a 64-percent chance to win tonight’s game with the Knicks. They say take the Kings minus 3.5 points.
FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO system projects the Knicks will finish with a record of 39-43 and in the much weaker Eastern Conference that gives NYC a 55-percent chance of making the playoffs.
The “desert-dwellers” are making the Kings the favorites minus 2.5 – 4.5 points and all are setting the over/under at 210.