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Kings vs. Knicks Preview: Unicorn Hunting in New York

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The Kings kick off a three game road trip with a matchup in the Big Apple against Kristaps Porzingis and the new look Knicks.

NBA: New York Knicks at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings are going streaking! Having beat Oklahoma City and Philadelphia in the comforts of home, Sacramento has decided to take their winning ways on the road, and test their mettle against a 6-5 New York Knicks team. Gone are Phil Jackson and resident superstar Carmelo Anthony, and in their place are Kings transplant Scott Perry and mutant freak Kristaps Porzingis; both chomping at the bit to turn around a franchise mired by mediocre to terrible basketball since Jeff Van Gundy still had some hair on his head. Come see what $141 million for Joakim Noah and Tim Hardaway gets the Knicks, but stay to hear Jerry Reynolds have to say names like Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Willy Hernangomez, and Frank Ntilikina! Let’s talk Kings basketball!

When: November 11th; 5 pm PST

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

Know Your Knicks:

After another disappointing season of New York Knicks basketball and the subsequent unloading of malcontent superstar Carmelo Anthony in the off-season to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Knicks have committed themselves to a culture change, different than the last 6 culture changes in NYC, and early in the season their seems to be some dividends to the investment. Kristaps Porzingis, who was inexplicably being shopped after a hyper-promising sophomore season, is now headed straight to superstardom. The aforementioned Zen Master was sent packing back to his cabin in Montana to practice tweeting with rings on every finger of his hand and summer fling Kings VP of Basketball Operations was brought in by New York to replace him. The Knicks are above .500 and playing relatively good basketball; pray tell, how have they accomplished such a task?

The Knicks have decided to be a bit old school in their approach to the game: they’re 23rd in the league in pace, take the 9th most two point shots in the league and are 5th in the league at two point percentage at 53.4%, while shooting the third least three pointers in the league. This is where it gets a bit odd though, in that, the Knicks don’t really have a floor general commanding the tempo of the game. No Knick averages more than 5.4 assists per game; Jarrett Jack has that in 25 minutes a game. Next up is rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina with 5 assists a game in 20 minutes a game, followed by Ron Baker with 3.7 in 19 minutes a game and finally Ramon Sessions with 3.5 in 21.3 minutes a game. This is a point guard by committee if I ever saw one. This season, Coach Jeff Hornacek helms a team that is deliberate in their offense, and conservative on the defensive end. The Knicks are 17th in the league in blocks, 27th in the league in steals, but also keep their hands to themselves with an average of 21.5 fouls a game, 9th best in the NBA. They’re second to last in the league in forcing opponent turnovers as well; teams turn the rock over on the Knicks at an average of 14 times a game.

The engine, wheels, steering column, wireless bluetooth connectivity and warming cupholders on the Knicksmobile this year is their 7’3 power forward Kristaps Porzingis. In ten games this year, he’s averaging 30 points (yeah... THIRTY), 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks on 51.2% fg, 38% three point fg and 83.6% free throw shooting. Without Kristaps, this team might be in the top 3 worst teams in the entire NBA and as I write this, the Basketball Gods themselves are writing in Tim Hardaway for having a 40 point night to punish me for that slight to him in my intro. (For reference, Hardaway isn’t having a bad season for himself on averages of 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2.5 assists.) The Knicks go as The Unicorn goes, and limiting his effectiveness should be Plan A, B through Z for the Kings.

Prediction: Tonight is the night Skal-La-beast-i-erre breaks free from Dave Joerger’s dog house. In a battle of Stretch Armstrong toys come to life, the Battle in the Big Apple will come down to Skal’s swooping post moves, countered with Zinger’s Dirk-like fade aways. When the two Legends of Length aren’t duking it out, De’Aaron Fox is zipping by Frank Ntilikina in his quest to prove Spring 2017 W. Griffith completely and irreparably wrong on who he thought the best point guards in the draft were going to be.

Kings 103, Knicks 98