Game 49 Preview: Sacramento Kings at New York Knicks

DeMarcus Cousins jockeys for position against Tyson Chandler. (Photo: Steven Chea)

Gametime: 4:30 pm PT

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY.

Broadcast Information: TV – News10, Radio – CBS Sports 1140

The book on the Knicks: New York has cooled down a bit since their hot start to the season.  Since their last meeting in December, Mike Woodson has had to reintegrate some players back into his lineup, including Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert and Ray Felton.  They’re currently riding a four-game win streak, which has coincided with Felton’s return from a hand injury that sidelined him for a month.  At 29-15, they’re just a half-game back of the Miami Heat for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Did you know?  In attendance for tonight’s game will be 150 children along with their families and teachers from Sandy Hook Elementary School.  The Knicks organization visited the community of Newtown earlier this week to pay their respects to the lives lost in that fateful December school shooting.

Status Updates: None to report.

Sacramento Kings Probable Starters (17-31)

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Tyreke Evans
SF: John Salmons
PF: Jason Thompson
C: DeMarcus Cousins

New York Knicks Probable Starters (29-15)

PG: Raymond Felton
SG: Iman Shumpert
SF: James White
PF: Carmelo Anthony
C: Tyson Chandler

Stats

Kings

  • Points Per Game: 96.2
  • Offensive Rating: 100.3
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 102.1
  • Defensive Rating: 107.8
  • Pace: 95.01

Knicks

  • Points Per Game: 100.6
  • Offensive Rating: 108.6
  • Opponents Points Per Game: 95.8
  • Defensive Rating: 103
  • Pace: 92.74

Three questions to ponder

1.  Will another slow start plague the Kings?

We could ask this question for every game the Kings’ play.  This is an issue that has hurt the Kings all season long and it reared it’s ugly head once again last night.  The Kings entered the second period down six points, a fairly surmountable margin.  But when the bench came in to relieve the starters, they dug themselves into a 19-point hole.  The Kings just seem to struggle to come out of the gates with the right intensity.  Will it happen again tonight?

2.  Can Tyreke Evans come close to matching his performance last night against the Sixers?

Evans arguably played his best game of the season yesterday evening.  He scored a season-high 29 points, racking up 13 of them on 6-of-7 shooting in the third quarter.  The Sixers had trouble clogging the paint and cutting off Evans’ driving lanes as he made most of his baskets around the rim.  It’s a known fact that Evans is a load to handle when he’s aggressive and keeping defenses honest with his jumper.  But tonight, he’ll have his hands full against a Knicks frontline that boasts the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Tyson Chandler.

3.  What kind of shape will Raymond Felton be in after aggravating his fractured left pinkie yesterday against the Bucks?

The Knicks point guard fractured his fifth finger in a game against the Suns in late December.  Felton was one the driving forces behind the Knicks’ hot start to the season and the hand injury forced him to miss practically all of January.  That troublesome pinkie was tested last night against the Bucks and according to the New York Times, Felton felt the pain following the game.  How effective will he be on the second game of a back-to-back?  In his four outings since returning to the Knicks’ lineup, Felton is averaging 12.3 points, 7.5 assists and shooting 47.1 percent from 3-point land in just under 34 minutes per contest.

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.