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Kings vs. Knicks Preview: New York or New Jersey?

The Kings are home to take on a Knicks team that has found a semblance of defensive identity under new head coach Tom Thibodeau.

Oh, look, another evening of Sacramento Kings basketball in which another team that was attempting to toe the line of refresh and rebuild has found themselves in a better position after a coaching change! The Knicks are in town and flashing their top of the league defense and bottom of the league offense, all in the hopes of giving the impression that they've finally turned things around... again... for like the eighteenth time this millennium. Currently sitting at the 6th best record in the East at 8-8, the Knicks strut into Sacramento winners of three straight games and ready to go on an extended streak! If Knicks fans aren't crying "trap game"... it's, well, it's because they're either dead or were always closeted Nets fans too afraid to speak up until now, but you get the point. Can this big craphole of a team turned back into The Big Apple's team? Can Thibs go more than a season without destroying the physical well-being of every single player he touches? When will the Academy go back to 1989 and give Spike Lee a Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Do the Right Thing? Let's talk Kings basketball.... or Oscar snubs... I'm really not too committed to anything at this point.

When: Friday, January 22nd, 7:00 PM PST

Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA

TV: NBCSCA -  Mark Jones on the call.

RadioKHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

Thibodeaun't Look Now: Hey look, a team where I can throw some numbers out at you! Yes, as I alluded to up above the fold, the Knicks are a decent team this season, bouyed by the heroics of Julius Randle, RJ Barrett and a cast of questionable fits, the Knicks have seemingly bought into the Thibs torture and are currently sporting one of the best defenses in the league. While their defensive rating is 4th in the league, they're #1 in opponents points allowed - giving up 102.8 per game, or in terms of the Kings, 20.2 points per game less than Sacramento. Yeah, woof. So what are they doing? How have they gone from 18th in the league just a season ago straight to the top of the heap? Well, for one, they're guarding the hell out of the three point line. This season, league opponents have shot just 30.7% from beyond the arc, and to expand a bit,  just 43% from the field as a whole. Those are both the best in the league. It isn't like they're running teams off the line though, they give up the 26th most three pointers at over 37 per game. They're also rebounding a ton of those missed shots, #5 in the league in total rebounds and 9th in the league in defensive rebounding. They're 11th in blocks and 23rd in steals, so while they aren't afraid to get after it, they're not taking risks either.

This is going to bleed over into the offensive side of things now, but the Knicks also run at the slowest pace in the league. They're limiting the amount of possessions their opponents get and contesting every single thing they throw up when they get the chance. Speaking of throwing things up, for as good as the Knicks defense has been early in the season, they're offense is just stringing things along as best they can. Not to take anything away from individuals like Julius Randle, who comes in sporting a career high 22.4 points to go along with 11.4 rebounds and 6.3 assists, or RJ Barrett who has broken out for 17.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists, the team is just a scattershot offensive unit. They're last in the league in scoring at 101.8 points per game, they're last in the league in three point attempts, 21st in percentage at 34.9% a game and while they're top six in two point shots attempted they also are the fourth worst two point shooting team in the league at 49.1%. So not only can they flat out not shoot the ball, they're fairly allergic to passing it to finding scoring opportunities for teammates as well, seeing as how they're 29th in assists as well.

The Knicks are currently on a three game win streak and an impressive three games at that. Beating Boston by 30, Orlando by 7 then Golden State by 15 is nothing to snuff at. But the big question for the Knicks remains: is this sustainable? Can you depend on Julius Randle to lead you to a lower end playoff spot in the East? Can a surprise rookie like Immanuel Quickly continue to play at an All-Rookie level? Can this island of lost toys really get the Knicks to their first playoff series in six years? Can Thibs pull back on the reigns when it comes down the stretch to keep the legs of his starters fresh? With the Knicks, I just don't know. Then on the other hand, I start thinking of every Knicks fan I know just happy to have their team be the slightest bit relevant again. Nothing in this universe is sustainable - not even the damned universe. I'm glad New York has something to celebrate, even if it is temporary and inevitably headed towards a state of zero thermodynamic free energy.

The Kings debut their new city jerseys tonight. There. That explains the title of the preview. Happy watching!

Prediction

The immovable object collides with the unstoppable farce and the chaos that's created rattles Sacramento to its core. The Kings give it all they've got on the offensive end but are held to a season low in point. The Knicks have completely wide open lanes to the hoop but wear themselves out in the process of playing a Thibs style defense. Neither team totally unable to scores after half-time.

Kings: 65, Knicks: 61

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January 22, 2021 12:13 pm

Hoping that Thibs give Toppin some run tonight, I’ve been looking forward to seeing him play pro ball.

January 22, 2021 12:17 pm

For anyone who says defense is both on the players and the coach, I point you to the Knicks. Thibs has taken a bunch of average to below average defenders and turned them into a “good” defensive team. This is why I lay the lion’s share of the blame on Walton and the coaching staff for the Kings inability to stop their opponents.

Also, at just game #16 the results of tonight will have lottery ramifications because I don’t feel the Knicks are making the playoffs. So Kangz.

January 22, 2021 12:21 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Yeah, agreed.

For the prediction contest, I picked the Knicks to win because I’m predicting Thibodeau will outcoach Walton.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
January 22, 2021 12:22 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Considering I’d take any of the other 29 head coaches to out coach Walton, I’d say you made a good prediction.

January 22, 2021 2:56 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

It’s early of course, but they were 23rd in DRtg last season (Sacramento was 19th). They are 3rd this season (Sacramento is eleventy billionth).

January 22, 2021 12:19 pm

Prediction

…Knicks: 61

Are they only playing 1 quarter tonight?

January 22, 2021 12:24 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Clearly that is the halftime score, then we will see the inevitable 3rd quarter collapse after the only adjustment Walton makes is to his mask.

January 22, 2021 12:26 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

That’s pretty much it, isn’t it?

Kings play well in the first half…the other team makes adjustments at halftime….Kings get clobbered.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
January 22, 2021 1:39 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I would really love to see someone grab Walton’s mask, pull it, and let it smack him in his stupid face. Moe Howard anyone?

January 22, 2021 4:13 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

after the only adjustment Walton makes is to his mask.

To be fair, this qualifies as progress.

January 22, 2021 12:23 pm

Come on, Buddy!
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January 22, 2021 1:23 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Most New Yorker do not respect traffic but one more does now !

January 22, 2021 12:27 pm

LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE
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January 22, 2021 12:30 pm

I’m predicting a win tonight. Its a road SEGABABA for the Knicks, and the Kings need a win going into this little mini break. Also, I watched the Knicks against the Warriors and it was a foul fest. That could be on the refs, but the Knicks are in the bottom 10 in Opponent FTA rate in the league so far. If the Kings can get into the paint, then they should find some success drawing fouls.

It will be interesting to see which team can dictate the style of play. I almost think the Kings would be better off in a shootout versus trying to out defend the Knicks.

January 22, 2021 5:38 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Did a parlay of kings money line plus the over just to really get my blood boiling when they kings lose 101-87.

January 22, 2021 9:41 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

this is a lesson for all you gamblers. The Kings play their opponents game. money line plus the under would’ve made me like $20.

January 22, 2021 12:42 pm

While still looking for win number six,
We’ll be facing the win-streaking Knicks.
Won their third in a row
Under Tom Thibodeau
As we cast about for a fix!

January 22, 2021 1:04 pm

Despite the Knicks playing on the second night of a back-to-back, their stifling Thibodeau defense will crush the Kings. Thibodeau will also not be caught smiling on camera and Walton’s nose will be exposed virtually the entire game. Cojo will play for 28 minutes, go 2 for 6 from the field and score 6 points. Knicks 110/Kings 93.

January 22, 2021 1:07 pm

Kings.
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Knicks.
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Next.

January 22, 2021 1:24 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

J’adore Audrey Hepburn, but my money is on “wrong-side-of-the-tracks” Ladybird kicking Holly Golightly’s Lula Mae ass back to Texas.
comment imagecomment image

(*my money, but not my Nostradumbass prediction–those points are too valuable!)

Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
January 22, 2021 2:20 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Breakfast at Tiffany’s could win it!
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Last edited 1 month ago by ZillersCat
January 22, 2021 4:15 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Lady Bird did move to New York at the end.

January 22, 2021 10:52 pm
Reply to  Carl

damnit!

January 22, 2021 2:06 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

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January 22, 2021 4:23 pm

Starting lineup changes anybody? How about sacred cow Barnes sitting it out? Give someone else a shot to start. How far has starting Barnes every night gotten the Kings? Not very since his arrival.

I’m not saying Barnes is the problem, but if you really want to shake things up, that’s what I would do. He’s just another $20 million dollar man that wouldn’t start on a lot of teams.

There’s plenty of other guys nailed to the bench that should get a look.

January 22, 2021 5:03 pm
Reply to  keith_kar

A friend of mine once stated “Sacred cows make the best hamburger”.

January 22, 2021 5:30 pm
Reply to  keith_kar

I’d rather have Barnes start and sit Buddy.

January 22, 2021 5:01 pm

A big loss tonight should officially push all chips into the “Trades ‘n Tank” portion of the season.

January 22, 2021 6:31 pm

Let’s see some NY Bricks

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Go Kings

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