The beam goes national in Kings 122-117 defeat of Knicks

Kings able to remain undefeated on national TV
By | 0 Comments | Mar 10, 2023

Last night was the second time this season the country was able to witness the greatness that is the Sacramento Kings on TNT. After getting flexed onto the national scene the other week, the Kings took on maybe the hottest team in the league in the New York Knicks — won nine of their last 10 games — and were able to come away with a huge 122-117 win.

The Kings started off hot tonight and jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first half thanks to a hot second quarter from Malik Monk who would finish with 19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 block in 20 minutes off the bench. As well as another stellar performance from Sabonis who earned his second consecutive triple-double.

With Knicks star point guard Jalen Brunson leaving the game due to a foot injury at the half, this game looked to be a blowout like the Kings’ last TNT appearance against the other New York squad in the Brooklyn Nets. However, the Kangz made an appearance in the third quarter and the Knicks were able to close the gap. The contest would go down to the final possessions, but De’Aaron “Mr. 4th Quarter” Fox would ice the game in the final minute.

Here are three takeaways from the game.

Get off your ass and get a rebound

The Knicks finished with 23 offensive rebounds, with 6’5” Josh Hart — who finished with 15 total rebounds — grabbing 8 by himself. The amount of second and even third chance opportunities the Knicks had allowed them to stay in a game they probably should’ve lost by at least 12 points. Despite so many chances, the Knicks would somehow only end the game with 17 second chance points.

It wasn’t just the defensive boards though. The Knicks would finish with 58 rebounds, 16 more than the Kings. While they weren’t able to take full advantage of the offensive boards, they did take advantage on the other end. The Knicks finished with 23 fast break points while the Kings would only get 7, less than half of their per game average this season.

Rebounds lead to opportunity, and opportunity to points. The Kings won’t win many games in this fashion.

Forcing turnovers forces wins

This game was the 14th game this season where the Kings finished with 10 or more steals. They are 13-1 in those games. The Kings as we know are not great on defense. However, something they can continue to do well is stay active in the passing lanes. The team is fast and more athletic than most of their competition. It’s the point of the season where you have to hone in on the things you can do and perfect them, not try to learn new tricks.

Kings in the clutch

Obviously, the offense is elite in the clutch. The defense is very good as well with the Kings defensive rating hovering around the top ten in those final 12 minutes of the game.

What I need from the Kings is to start turning it on earlier than they have been. Offensively, I need Fox to attack the opposing teams all night and not just the fourth quarter. We’ve seen a handful of games now where he is essentially absent from the offense through three quarters but somehow finishes with 25+ points. I know he gauges the amount of energy he needs to exert so that he can be there in the most crucial minutes. But in the playoffs, every minute of every game is crunch time. If Fox can turn it on early and the team can play their fourth quarter defense for the entirety of a game, the sky's the limit.

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