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Kings 88, Knicks 80: Basketball was played

Steven Ryan-USA TODAY Sports

‘Two teams played basketball tonight’ could be both the title to this recap, and the only sentence in said recap, but since you’ve already made the mistake of clicking on a recap post from a 88-80 game against two sub-30 win teams in late March, I owe you more than that.

So, the Kings won. They defeated the Knicks 88-80 at Madison Square Garden. It was ugly, and from a pure talent standpoint, probably not a game the Kings should have had any trouble winning. For the most part, they didn’t. The Knicks got frisky in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, but that team is so terrible and so banged up, I never feared a loss, despite how little the game mattered.

The Kings held the Knicks to 12 first quarter points, which I have to attribute more to bad offense than good defense. Sorry. I have to. The Knicks’ starting backcourt went 1-9 with three points. Kristaps Porzingis scored an inefficient 13, and ‘Kings gave me up for nothing’ Robin Lopez was pretty good. Without Carmelo Anthony (he missed the game with a migraine) they just don’t have enough offensive firepower to scare you. Holding the Knicks to 12 first quarter points while shooting 5-10 from three in that same quarter is a pretty good recipe for success.

To use a cliché vague basketball term, the Knicks ‘outworked’ the Kings in the second quarter (they outrebounded the Kings 55-49 for the game) and that younger Knicks bench unit with Jerian Grant and Coke Machine Derrick Williams played well.

Mike Breen said something in the second half that I found particularly funny and very appropriate for the basketball being playing at MSG tonight –

This can happen when you have two teams, neither one are playing for anything, and you go through stretches of games with very little defensive intensity

I couldn’t agree more, Mike.

So get this, neither team really buckled down defensively, and the final score was 88-80. What does that tell you about both offenses? This was ugly, from start to finish.

DeMarcus Cousins thrives in ugly, apparently, because he carried the Kings tonight, for lack of a better way to phrase it. He was dominant is a way that never actually felt dominant to me, partly because Robin Lopez matched a lot of his production, but also because Cousins played a little ugly himself. He had 24 points, 20 rebounds, 1 security guard ‘shove’, and he only shot two free throws! I can remember the last time we saw a stat line like that! 5 of Cousins' 20 rebounds were of the offensive variety, and he was just banging around in the paint all night. That's what I mean by ugly. It wasn't flashy, but it was efficient, and I'm sure some of the Knicks are going to feel his physicality tomorrow.

When the opposing team scores quarter totals of 12, 18, and 15, it’s not difficult to out-produce that line. The Kings did. Ballgame.

Last thing - I don’t want to extend the life of this non-story story, nor do I want to come across as burying or avoiding the story, so the safe bet is to just post the Vine of DeMarcus Cousins pushing, shoving, moving, poking, assaulting, nudging, driving, love-tapping, etc. a security guard tonight.

At worst DeMarcus Cousins is a monster, at best he did something he shouldn’t have done.