Kings fall to Knicks for third straight loss
The Sacramento Kings fell behind early on Saturday night and were never able to catch up with the visiting New York Knicks as they dropped their third consecutive loss by a final score of 114-92 to close out 2011.
The Kings were thought to be catching a break as the Knicks were without their star forward Amar’e Stoudemire but rookie Josh Harrellson got the start and chipped in with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Sacramento struggled all night to get the offense going and they fell behind by as many as 22 points in the first half. New York’s biggest lead on the night was 29 points.
Kings guard Marcus Thornton led the team in scoring with 14 points while his backcourt teammate Tyreke Evans added 13 points.
Jason Thompson was a bright spot for the Kings as he came off the bench to score 13 points. “It’s tough to come back and have heroics, you know, at the end because you have to use so much energy,” Thompson said when talking about his team’s recent slow starts.
Transition defense, which had been an issue against the Bulls on Thursday, was better but the Knicks were hitting their shots. Harrellson hit four of his eight three point shots and guard Toney Douglas hit four of his six attempts from downtown.
“They jumped on us early, they were hitting three’s, they were executing, and jumped on us 35-20,” said Kings head coach Paul Westphal as he addressed the media after the game.
Each of the Knicks starters recorded double-digit scoring led by Carmelo Anthony’s 23 points and Tyson Chandler’s 22 points.
Chandler was limited to just four minutes of playing time in the first half after picking up three personal fouls but he made up for it with a strong second half, including two three-point plays in the early moments of the fourth quarter.
Free throws continued to be a problem for the Kings as they shot 63% from the line, often splitting the pair of shots at each opportunity. On the plus side they did have 41 free throw attempts against the Knicks.
The few times the Kings seemed to make a move and cut into the lead the Knicks had an answer.
It looked as though the Kings were getting it going at the midpoint of the third quarter when Donte Greene nailed two three-point shots to get the crowd back into the game and cut the lead to 11 points at 70-59. However, the Kings would get no closer in the third quarter or at any point in the fourth quarter.
The Kings won’t have long to think about this loss as they host the New Orleans Hornets on New Year’s night.