The Sacramento Kings need the All-Star Break as much as Jimmer Fredette doesn't need it. A Kings team that's lost 10 of their last 13 games barely snuck by a New York team that's been struggling to just squeak into the playoff picture in a lackadaisical Eastern Conference. Jimmer Fredette had perhaps his only consistently effective game of the season, breaking out for 24 points on 9-14 shooting. Before the game there were rumblings about this (and every game from here on out) being a must-win for the Knicks, thus continuing the Kings 7 year tradition of playing playoff spoilers.
The Kings began the game implementing their very polarizing "no defense" defensive scheme, to little success. They went into the second quarter down 33-22, with Carmelo Anthony pouring in 17 points on a variety of isolation mid-range jumpers against helpless Kings defenders. The Kings offense succeeded at about the same rate as they had the previous three games, looking like a more miscast isolation outfit.
Things didn't start to pick up offensively until Jimmer Fredette came into the game at point guard. The Kings turned a 33-22 deficit into a 41-37 lead, as Jimmer immediately burst into flames, pouring in 15 points amidst the chaos while turning off all sprinkler systems.
The Kings were able to stay in the game in the second half due in large part to a lousy Knicks 3rd quarter that saw them score just 20 points on 7/23 shooting. DeMarcus Cousins started controlling the defensive boards and knocking in timely mid-range jumpers which kept the Kings close when it looked like New York was beginning to pull away.
The end of the fourth quarter, however, is where things got interesting. Down 88-93 with two and a half minutes to go, Jimmer knocked down his sixth three pointer of the game, closing the deficit to two, which set up a Rudy Gay pull up jumper that tied the game with 20 seconds remaining. Carmelo Anthony missed a step-back jumper as time expired, setting up an overtime that the Kings controlled from the outset, giving them their only win on this four game road trip.
The Knicks and Kings enter the All-Star break at 20-32 and 18-35, respectively, both breathing a deep sigh of relief.
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