With the All-Star break looming, both the New York Knicks (20-32) and the Brooklyn Nets (24-26) had a bit of home cooking on Wednesday night.
New York welcomed the struggling Sacramento Kings (18-35) to the Garden, while Brooklyn welcomed the Charlotte Bobcats (23-30) to Barclays Center. New York has been up and down all season; unfortunately, they were down and fell to the Kings in overtime. Brooklyn had the better fortune of the night, defeating the Bobcats and strengthening their position in the playoff race.
After a strong start, the Knicks couldn’t hit the timely baskets they needed to fight off a pesky Kings team -- Knicks lost 106-101. The Knicks have now lost five of their last six games, and this loss is sure to fire up the various rumors involving the team even more.
Most recently, there has been various rumors about the Knicks resurrecting trade talks with the Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets for Kyle Lowry and Kenneth Faried respectively. There has also been rumors about the Chicago Bulls wanting to trade for Carmelo Anthony, and a possible trade that would send Russell Westbrook to the Knicks from Oklahoma City Thunder. No one truly knows how serious these rumors are except for the parties involved, but the Knicks losing games isn’t going to make these rumors go away.
The most serious rumor of them all involves Mike Woodson’s job as coach of the New York Knicks. According to rumors, Woodson’s job was in jeopardy before the All-Star break and he needed this win against the Kings to save it. In the upcoming days, we’ll see if there is any truth to this rumor or not.
Sacramento got a massive boost off the bench from Glens Falls, NY native Jimmer Fredette. He hasn’t performed great all season, only averaging 5.5 points in 11 minutes per game, but with his family and friends watching him at the Garden, he came to play. He dropped a career-high 24 points, and his 15 points in the 2nd quarter helped cut the Kings 12-point deficit. He also hit three huge threes in the 4th which kept the Kings within striking distance of the Knicks.
Carmelo Anthony started off hot, scoring 22 points in the 1st half, but lost steam in the 2nd half. In the 4th quarter and OT, he only shot 1-8 from the field. Throughout the season, Anthony has shown to become fatigued late in games. He currently leads the NBA in minutes per game, and tonight didn’t help that stat as he played a team-high 48 minutes. Anthony needs a legitimate second scorer who will be able to carry the scoring load at times, and give him the opportunity to rest. Until that happens, expect more lackluster performances from Anthony late in games.
The Knicks held their largest lead of 13 in the 1st quarter -- 33-20. The Kings erased that deficit in the 2nd quarter, and actually took the lead with a Rudy Gay drive to the hoop near the halfway mark. To end the half, the Knicks went on a 13-2 run and retook the lead 54-48.
About three minutes into the 3rd, the Knicks increased their lead to 12. It seemed to be smooth sailing for the Knicks until they couldn’t buy a basket from the field. The Knicks missed 13 straight shots which allowed the Kings to cut their lead to one. Going into the 4th, the Knicks led 74-72.
With 20 seconds to go, Rudy Gay made a midrange jumper which tied the game at 93. Anthony had a chance to win the game in regulation, but missed.
In overtime, Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a deep three with 27 seconds remaining to cut the Kings lead to three, but Isaiah Thomas responded with a deep two with 7 seconds left to seal the game for the Kings.
Currently, the Knicks trail the Bobcats by 2.5 games for the final playoff spot.
Key Stats: Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists. Tyson Chandler had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Raymond Felton finished with 8 points, 12 assists, and 6 rebounds. Amar’e Stoudemire had 20 points and 8 rebounds off the bench, but also had 6 turnovers.
Jimmer Fredette led the Kings with 24 points off 9-14 shooting, 6-8 from 3-point range. Isaiah Thomas and Rudy Gay finished with 20 points each. DeMarcus Cousins finished with a double-double, 19 points and 14 rebounds. Derrick Williams finished with 14 points off the bench.
Key Notes: J.R. Smith didn’t play due to a fractured cheek bone -- he couldn’t get his mask fitted before the game and didn’t want to risk further injury. Kenyon Martin is still out with a sprained left ankle.
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