Few people predicted before the season that the New York Knicks would be in playoff contention nearing the All-Star break. However, after a 140-121 win over the Sacramento Kings, the Knicks find themselves at 6th place in the Eastern Conference and just 1 game below .500.
Power forward Julius Randle continued his terrific season, finishing with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Newly-acquired Derrick Rose finished with 18 points and 6 assists for New York. The Knicks also got great production off their bench. Alec Burks finished with 24 points while shooting an efficient 62.5% from three. Rookie guard Immanuel Quickley continued his stellar inaugural campaign, finishing with 25 points while shooting a perfect 12-12 from the free-throw line.
De’Aaron Fox finished with a team-high 29 points for the Kings in the loss. This loss extends Sacramentos’ losing streak to 9 games. The Kings’ last win came versus the Clippers on February 7th.
The defensive side of the ball has been the primary issue for the Kings during their skid. The Knicks shot 58.6% from the field and 52.8% from three in the win on Thursday night. No matter how well a team plays offensively, it is nearly impossible to win when the shooting team shoots as efficiently as the Kings did tonight.
The Kings have allowed their opponents to shoot 40.4% from beyond the arc in February, the highest clip in the NBA. The Kings have also allowed the most points per game, allowing a whopping 120.5 points per game during February. Luke Walton and his staff will need to sort out the defensive issues quickly to save the Kings’ season and their jobs.