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Kings vs. Knicks preview: F*** it, the Kings should win this game

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I mean... the Kings have to win this one, right?

NBA: Sacramento Kings at New York Knicks Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The worst team in the worst conference in the NBA is in town tonight. Welcome to Sacramento, New York Knicks! The storyline heading into this game couldn’t be more obvious — can the Kings start beating the teams they should beat? Stay tuned.

When: Friday, December 13th, 7:00 PM PST, 10:00 PM best coast time.

Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

TV: NBCSCA

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

The Sacramento Kings are playing their best basketball of the 2019-20 NBA season right now, and they’ve been rewarded for it with the 7th seed in the Western Conference playoff race. To make matters even better for the Kings, they’re about to embark on what could be their easiest 5-game stretch of the entire season starting tonight at home vs. the Knicks.

Next 5 games: Knicks at Kings, Warriors at Kings, Kings at Hornets, Kings at Pacers, Kings at Grizzlies.

With expectations comes pressure, and the Kings have been underwhelming in games they should win this season. The best example of this was the Kings’ following three games after a huge overtime win vs. the Nuggets back on November 30. The Kings secured what felt like a huge momentum swinging win vs. the Nuggets and then lost three straight to the Bulls, Blazers, and Spurs.

Here we are again. The Kings defeated some of the best teams in the Western Conference this week with three straight wins over the Mavericks, Rockets, and Thunder. Those victories pushed the Kings back into the playoff conversation after starting the season 0-5. You’d think all the momentum would be on the Kings’ side tonight heading into a game against the 5-20 Knicks, a dysfunctional team that just fired their head coach. Here’s to hoping the Kings learned from their mistakes and take care of business at home against a team they are clearly better than.

Mike Miller (not that Mike Miller) took over head coaching duties for the Knicks after David Fizdale was fired last week, and I suppose you can say they have improved since. They’re 1-2 under Miller after starting the season 4-18 with Fizdale. Miller got his first win vs. the Warriors in San Francisco on Wednesday, and they only lost to the Pacers by 1 on Saturday. Grading on the Knicks curve, that’s better, right?

This isn’t too uncommon in the NBA. Bad teams often respond well to a coach firing in the short term. It wouldn’t excuse a Kings loss tonight, but it’s something to consider. The Knicks might not be as bad in this game as their record suggests. That’s all.

I don’t know how many times I can reiterate the same point, but I’m going to do it again. Just win tonight, Kings. Just do it. Create some distance in the Western Conference playoff race. I dare you.

Please.

Injury report:

Knicks:

PROBABLEDennis Smith Jr. (illness).

OUTReggie Bullock (neck), Wayne Ellington (neck).

Kings:

PROBABLECory Joseph (back).

OUT – De’Aaron Fox (ankle).

Prediction:

Kings win 115-99. Marvin Bagley has his best game of the season. Kings retain the 7th seed.