I think it's safe to say that nothing matters anymore. The Sacramento Kings have officially clinched their 16th losing season in a row, they are four games out of the 10th seed, and all hopes of post-season play have at least thrice been killed by now. The fun part about nothing mattering anymore is that we can confidently answer any hypothetical questions, such as, "will the Kings take advantage of the Knicks tonight being on the second night of a back to back?" or "will this be the night that Alec Burks scores 50?" with "who the hell cares?" The weight of hope and expectation can no longer drag our spirits. We can simply just be. So as the Kings took on the Knicks tonight, I took a few deep breaths, exhaled the stress, and embraced the zen. Let's see how they did:
Outcome: Kings lose, 131-115
Sacramento Kings: 115 pts, 48.8% fg, 34.4% 3 pt, 72.2% ft, 23 ast, 40 reb, 11 to
New York Knicks: 131 pts, 51.1% fg, 42.9% 3 pt, 82.6% ft, 19 ast, 47 reb, 8 to
This team really doesn't care about my zen. After leading by as much as 20 points from an electric first half performance, the Kings turned all the way down and let the Knicks trample right over them for a 36-point swing and comeback. It was the same old story, a tale of two halves, one as old as time itself. In the span of 48 minutes, the Sacramento Kings took us through all three major stages of a bad relationship - see below for details.
The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
- The Honeymoon Phase: Everything was rainbows and butterflies. At the first horn, the Kings were firing on all cylinders on both ends of the floor and it seemed as if they could do no wrong. Domantas Sabonis got a hot start, logging 11 quick points and punishing the Knicks' centers with foul trouble. Harrison Barnes found his way to the free throw line a handful of times, and De'Aaron Fox created and controlled a high-energy pace that kept the ball moving for the Kings as he racked up five assists in the first half. On the defensive end, the Kings were highly active, anticipating passing lanes, forcing the Knicks into tough shots, and cleaning up the defensive glass. They held the Knicks to just 17 points in the first quarter, with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett being the only two Knicks able to put the ball in their basket. The Kings ended the first half with a 15-point lead after a dominant and confident performance. They made us feel safe, secure, and as if they were willing to do all the little things.
- Trouble in Paradise: Things were going great, and then suddenly, they stopped doing the little things. It started with a 7-0 run by the Knicks to open up the third quarter. The Kings came out with their usual third quarter lethargy and the Knicks quickly took advantage. The hope at this point is that this would serve as a wake-up call, and the Kings would revert back to making the extra efforts to get things back on track towards the honeymoon phase. But, like every failed relationship, they instead fell into complacency and didn't make the proper adjustments to right the ship. After five minutes of play, the Kings' 15-point lead was reduced to just six points and Alvin Gentry was forced to take a timeout.
- The Heartbreak: And finally, not only did they stop doing the little things, they stopped doing everything all together. The defense became nonexistent, as the Knicks outscored the Kings 44-24 in the third quarter and nailed 7 3-pointers. The defensive intensity, rotation, and discipline we saw in the honeymoon phase was long gone. On the other end of the floor, De'Aaron Fox did what he could individually to keep his team in it, but as a team, the offense became flat and lacked the ball movement and force that they imposed in the first half. Once the Knicks got the momentum in their favor, they never looked back. The fourth quarter was essentially the Julius Randle show, as he finished with a career-high 46 points on eight made 3-pointers. RJ Barrett (29 points) and Immanuel Quickley (27 points) shored up the rest of the Knicks' offensive production. Like most breakups, emotions ran high and Domantas Sabonis was ejected in the fourth quarter after contesting a foul call. The Kings completed tonight's heartbreak by becoming complacent, refusing to correct, and letting what started as a good thing end in complete and utter disaster.
The King of Kings
De'Aaron Fox led the Kings tonight with 24 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. He had some incredible finishes at the rim throughout the game and reached some top speeds that I'm not sure have been recorded before on an NBA court.
Operation: M.C.N.A.I.R Watch
Tonight's chosen charity is My Sister's House which serves underserved women and children impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Donate here and be sure to notify Will via Twitter (@WillofThaPeople) or e-mail ([email protected]) so he can keep track of donation totals.
Wednesday, March 9th vs. Denver Nuggets - 7:00 P.M.