The Sacramento Kings are currently 24-42, 13th place in the NBA western conference standings. The Kings head back home after going 2-3 on their most recent 5 game road trip and will face the 26-38 New York Knicks on Monday 3/7 at 7PM in Sacramento.
Play-In Pursuits Popped
The Kings are 4 games behind the 10th place New Orleans Pelicans for the final western conference play-in spot. The Kings are not mathematically eliminated from the play-in race, but with a VERY tough schedule going forward, it will be unlikely the Kings will crack the top 10 in the west. The Knicks are in a similar situation, they are currently in 12th place in the NBA eastern conference and 5.5 games behind 10th place Atlanta Hawks.
The Kings don’t need to try and tank, as shown by blowing multiple 15+ point leads on their previous road trip. In my opinion, Sacramento has A LOT to play for, regardless of their dwindling play-in aspirations.
The Kings have a great opportunity to grow as a team, hash out their future shooting guard spot, see how Richaun Holmes fits in with the addition of Domantas Sabonis, figure out if Damian Jones has a future with the Kings, and maybe even a way to convince Harrison Barnes he deserves to shoot more than 9 shots in a game.
The Kings and Knicks have faced off once this season, at the ‘Mecca’ of hoops, Madison Square Garden, on 1/22/22. The Kings lost that matchup 118-98. Former King Tyrese Haliburton was Sacramento’s lead scorer with 22 points, along with dishing out 7 assists. Former King Alec Burks was the lead scorer for the Knicks, with 21 points off the bench.
Sacramento shot terribly from 3PT range in the first matchup against the Knicks, 28.9%. Additionally, the Kings shot 50% from the free-throw line, 11-22. How in the world that happens to an NBA team is beyond me. This new-look Kings squad will have to improve those numbers to have any chance against the Knicks this time around.
In their first matchup, Sacramento was without De’Aaron Fox. Fox has CAUGHT fire since the Kings traded for Domantas Sabonis. In his previous 9 games, Fox has averaged 28.3 points, 6.4 assists, and 51.8% FG.
Fox equaled his career-high 44 points in a close loss on the road to the Dallas Mavericks in their last game, Saturday 3/5. Losing was probably the best-case scenario for the Kings, helping them in their draft lottery odds.
A Few Numbers for This Matchup
Defensively, the Knicks rank highly in the NBA in a few categories. The Knicks rank 8th in points allowed, 3rd in offensive rebounds allowed and 4th in FG allowed. Offensively New York ranks 4th in total rebounds, 2nd in free throws attempted, and 5th in offensive rebounds.
The Kings rank 22nd in the NBA in total rebounds allowed and 16th in offensive rebounds allowed. To have an opportunity to compete, the Kings will have to improve in those areas and keep the Knicks from getting too many second-chance opportunities.
I originally predicted this game to be a WIN for the Kings. And I will stick by that!
What Do YOU Think
I want to know what the #SacramentoProud fans think!
If you want to share your opinion, stats, homemade tacos you concocted for the game … let me know on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook!
Go Sacramento Kings!