Kings vs. Knicks Preview: All-Star Break can't come soon enough

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings very well could go winless on what seemed to be relatively easy 4-game road trip as they head into their final game tonight against the New York Knicks.

Sacramento only has one more chance at a win on this road trip as they face the Knicks in New York (4:30 pm on Comcast SportsNet California and KHTK 1140) in the last game of the All-Star break. The Kings have struggled on this road trip to put points on the board, something that hasn't been a problem for most of the season.

MATCHUP OF THE GAME

Rudy Gay vs. Carmelo Anthony

Rudy has not been playing well in the couple games since he came back from the flu. His shots have been short, his aggressiveness has been lacking, and his defense hasn't been there. The Kings really need him to step up tonight because Carmelo Anthony is one of the best players in the league, especially offensively where he's averaging 27.1 points. If Rudy can make Melo expend some energy on the other end, that will be a nice bonus. Here's hoping the Rudy we've seen the last couple games is an aberration and not some kind of regression to the mean.

3 THINGS

1. The Kings offense has really struggled on this road trip, failing to hit the 100 mark all three games and the 90 point mark in two of the three. Part of the reason for this is that the pace of all three games has been incredibly slow, hovering right around the 90.5 possessions mark (which is about what the Bulls average). The Kings would prefer to push the pace a little bit, because the halfcourt offense is not that good, especially when DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay are having bad games like they have been.

2. The Knicks have definitely been disappointing this year and that's mainly because they don't have all that many weapons outside of Melo. J.R. Smith has regressed after securing a big contract and winning 6th man of the year last year, but he's still a guy you can't let get hot. Rookie Tim Hardaway, Jr. is probably their 3rd best player and he's been relatively impressive, scoring 9.2 points a game on 45.8% from the field and 39.2% from three.

3. Remember when we talked about pace earlier? Contrary to what you may think, the Knicks are not a team that likes to get up and down the court, playing at the 3rd slowest pace in the league. The Kings need to push the pace and wear out the older Knicks. The Kings in particular haven't been able to get on the fastbreak as much, and that needs to change.

PRE-GAME HAIKU

This road trip has sucked.
All-Star break is much needed.
Regroup and move on.

PREDICTION

Knicks 108, Kings 95 as the Kings play shorthanded without Ben McLemore who is out with "flu-like symptoms". Coincidentally, happy late birthday to Ben, who celebrated his 21st yesterday.

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