The Kings had a 16 point lead in the third quarter. They were up for most of the game. The Knicks closed out the third on a good run and you felt it coming. Sacramento had won close games prior to this but at some point the ball is not going to bounce your way and this time it didn’t. They blew a lead to the now six-win Knicks. They were literally handed this game and then dropped it. Now the Kings drop to 10th in the West after having the chance to stay in 7th.
It’s only December but these are the losses we’re going to be pointing to.
Nemanja Bjelica got the Kings on the board first with a deep three from Buddy Hield’s pass. He drove to the rim later to draw the foul but missed a free throw. The Knicks decided not to defend Harrison Barnes and he would drill a three and the Kings opened up with a 7-2 lead. The Knicks were doing a great job of getting into the paint and scoring but with three power forwards starting, it’s not the most difficult thing in the world. Hield pulled out a reverse dunk along the baseline with block machine Mitchell Robinson trailing. Sacramento went up 26-16 largely due to Hield’s 12 points on 5-5 shooting. Marvin Bagley blocked an attempted Robinson alley-oop from behind and the Kings closed out the quarter strong to lead 32-20. Hield scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Sacramento started off the second quarter being outscored 11-5, despite shooting 6/9 from deep early on. They started to find a groove offensively to retake a 46-34 lead but the Knicks stayed in it with Julius Randle hitting threes, despite shooting just 26% from deep on the year. But the Kings were the one with Hield, who went up to 22 points on 9-10 shooting, and the Kings now had a 52-37 lead with three minutes left in the second. New York didn’t go away, climbing back into it and making it 52-45 by continuously attacking the paint and no one other than Hield was scoring. A Hield lob to Richaun Holmes would end the quarter. Hield led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds and Bjelica added nine points on 2-3 shooting from three. Randle led the Knicks with 17 points on 7-11 shooting and five rebounds.
The Kings came out in the third much more active than the previous quarter. Harrison Barnes touched the ball more often than the first half and produced tough baskets and went up to 11 points after a quiet half. Bjelica hit a deep three to have double-digits, too. Sacramento had a 67-52 lead with a little under eight minutes remaining. Hield and Randle exchanged threes as the Kings grew their lead to 77-61 with four minutes left. Not surprising, but the Knicks came right back with an 11-3 run to cut the lead inside single-digits at 80-72. Too many turnovers on offense and the Knicks kept scoring in the paint. Hield now had 27 points and nine rebounds but Randle’s 22 points and help from Elfrid Payton and Robinson off the bench kept them in it.
The Knicks caught fire from three and made the game 85-83. Bagley made two baskets to keep the lead afloat but when the defense got a stop, they couldn’t grow the lead any further. Bogi and Buddy would make two threes to make it a six point game. They got a stop and had a chance to score again, but Buddy double-dribbled to give it right back. Payton would drill a three for New York and then Hield was called for an offensive foul. Marcus Morris would get an and-1 opportunity to tie at 93-93. Payton gave the Knicks a lead on an 8-0 run, but Hield would tie with a mid-range jumper. The Kings kept going for threes and none were falling, yet Cory Joseph attempted one. Awful loss.
Buddy Hield had a double-double of 34 points and 12 rebounds. He had the hot hand for the entire game until it really mattered.
Bogdan Bogdanovic added 14 points off the bench with 4-5 coming from three.
Harrison Barnes had a quiet first half and a better second going for 18 points, five rebounds and two assists. He banked in a three at the buzzer.
The Kings were 17-39 from three (43.6%) to the Knicks 9-30 (30%). Guess what team won?
Sacramento was outrebounded 48-41 and had less assists at 24-19.
The Knicks dominated the paint 56-32 and had 14 offensive rebounds. They’re the best in the league in that and it showed.
The Knicks largest lead was five and that was with a few seconds remaining. The Kings lead for pretty much 47 minutes of the game.
The Kings start a four-game road trip beginning with the 5-22 Golden State Warriors in San Francisco. If they don’t win that one...