After another frustrating loss, in which the Kings were in in till the very last possession, the Kings travel from Boston to New York City to take on the Knicks. Coach by Jeff Hornacek and owning the best record in the Eastern Conference since November 12th (7-3), the Knicks are a good mix of veteran talent and young up-and-comers and are looking to make a playoff run for the first time in three seasons, so don’t expect them to take the Kings lightly on Sunday night. Let’s talk Kings basketball.
When: Sunday, December 4th, 4:30 pm PST
Where: Madison Square Garden, CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140
For Your Consideration:
Kings Focus: This Knicks basketball team is first off, a really fun mix of players tossed out in a less than interesting fashion. You have the budding superstar in Kristaps Porzingis, the aging superstar in Carmelo Anthony, the former star in Derek Rose, the guy trying to drag himself back after a major injury in Brandon Jennings and the underdogs in players like Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez. If ever there was an NBA version of the movie “Major League”, this should be the team it would be based off of. The reality of the situation is a lot more middle-of-the-road and bland, but man, the cinematic potential.
Okay, so back to what I should be discussing here; the Kings are once again faced with an entirely winnable game here. The Knicks are a bit of a mess on offense. They’re 14th in the league in scoring at just over 104 points per game, and 10th in three point percentage at 35.8%, but 18th in attempts at 25.4 a game. They’re also 22nd in two point percentage at 48.3% but are 9th in attempts. They’re also shoot free throws less than all but four other NBA teams, are 15th in assists and 14th in total rebounds (5th in offensive rebounds, but 21st in defensive). See what I mean by middle-of-the-road? The Kings should once again try to find a way to stop the barrage of three pointers that have been coming their way, and if they can’t well, the point guard hydra of Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings are shooting an average of 27.9% from deep. Maybe try funneling the ball to one of those two guys. Keeping the Knicks off of the free throw for extended periods of time would be rather helpful as well, where they shoot 78.3%.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Kings would have fans bowing at the altar of Joerger for one game where the Kings got off to a hot start. Maybe not even a hot start at this point, just one that doesn’t put pressure on the bench to come in and go on a 15-0 run to bring the game back to even again. One potential avenue for success is to give many, many opportunities to Kristaps Porzingis to foul the man he’s guarding early. Porzingis is the only Knick to be averaging over a block and a half a game, but he’s also third in the league in fouls per game at 3.7, so his head hunting can, in fact, get him into some trouble. The Knicks as a team are bottom ten in fouls per game, so seeing the Kings take advantage of them early and often could spell out that 1) this game is going to drag on a bit but, 2) the Kings will be in a position late to win! (Quick sidenote: Boogie leads the league in fouls per game at 4.1. Just for the sake of, I don’t know, fairness.). The Knicks are in almost no way a good defensive team. They allow teams to score a fraction under 107 points per game, and with a real deficiency on grabbing their opponents misses, the Kings should have no problem scoring at the rim or at least getting second possessions out of missed shots. I say that now, knowing full well that I just cursed the Kings to zero second chance points tonight.
Prediction: The game will be close throughout, and DeMarcus will have no problem handling his business in the post. Late in the game, Porzingis will get him on a block, then DeMarcus will recover only to be blocked again, leading to DeMarcus collecting the ball for a third attempt that will end in a massive dunk on the young Zinger, a dunk so heavy and filled with anger that Jerry Reynolds will have no words, only a single awestruck tear. The foundation of Madison Square Garden to crack. The game will be called on the grounds of unsafe conditions to players. Porzingis will go home, contemplate what had happened and will decide to become a gardener, devoting his life to plants, and nature, and not pissing off DeMarcus Cousins.
Kings 108, Knicks 103