Game 29 Preview: Sacramento Kings vs. New York Knicks

Sacramento Kings with high-fives during break vs. Portland Trail Blazers.

Gametime: 7:00 pm PT

Where:  Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA.

Broadcast Information: TV – News10, Radio – 1140 The Fan

For Knicks perspective, visit fellow TrueHoop Network affiliate Knickerblogger.

The book on the Knicks:  New York is off to one of their best starts in franchise history.  However, they’ve cooled down a bit in their last six games, posting a decent but not stellar 3-3 record.  The injury bug has also bit them lately.  Carmelo Anthony is not going to play and is targeting a New Year’s Day return after hyper-extending his knee on Tuesday against the Lakers And they’re also without starting guard Raymond Felton, who broke his left pinkie finger Wednesday in Phoenix.

Did you know?  The Kings last victory over the Knicks at Sleep Train Arena came Nov. 25, 2009.  Donte Greene led Sacramento in scoring that night with 24 points and made 6-of-7 attempts from 3-point land.

Status Updates: Tyreke Evans will not play due to soreness in his left knee.   He hopes to return to the Kings’ lineup on Sunday.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (9-19)

PG: Aaron Brooks
SG: Marcus Thornton
SF: John Salmons
PF: James Johnson
C: Jason Thompson

New York Knicks Probable Starters (21-8)

PG: Jason Kidd
SG: Ronnie Brewer
SF: James White
PF: Kurt Thomas
C: Tyson Chandler

Stats and Rankings

Kings

  • Points Per Game: 95.0 (15h out of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 99.7 (22nd out of 30)
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 101.1 (3rd out of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 106.7 (27th out of 30)
  • Pace: 95.0 (9th out of 30)

Knicks

  • Points Per Game: 101.8 (7th out of 30)
  • Offensive Rating: 109.2 (3rd out of 30)
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 96.3 (15th out of 30)
  • Defensive Rating: 102.3 (16th out of 30)
  • Pace: 93.69 (21st out of 30)

Three questions to ponder

1.  How many minutes does DeMarcus Cousins play?

Will he or won’t he play?  That is the question lingering on the minds of many leading up to tonight’s game.  Since being reinstated Monday, Cousins has practiced, but hasn’t played in a regular season game since last week’s meltdown in Los Angeles.  Keith Smart would not reveal his plans for Cousins following practice yesterday and the Kings center admitted he’s unsure of his playing time too.  Maybe he comes off the bench or maybe he doesn’t play at all.  But there is one thing I’m willing to bet and it’s that he doesn’t start tonight’s game.

2.  Will the Kings be able to stop J.R. Smith?

No Amar’e Stoudemire and no Carmelo Anthony for the Knicks tonight, which means that J.R. Smith will be New York’s No.1 scoring option.  Though he comes off the bench, the Kings will have to focus their defense on Smith, who can get hot at any time.  He’s a streaky, long-range shooter, but he can make a bad shot look good in certain situations.  Smith has scored at least 25 points or more in the Knicks’ last two games.

3.  Can the Kings contain the Knicks 3-point shooting?

Mike D’Antoni may not be around anymore, but the Knicks are still one of the best in the league from long range.  On average, New York makes about 11 three-pointers per game, which leads the league.  So far, that’s led them to score an NBA best 320 triples this season.  The Kings are actually pretty decent defending the three.  They’re currently ranked 19th in opponent 3-point percentage and are allowing their opposition to shoot just 35.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Statistical support provided by NBA.com.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.