Ugly. Ugly from the get-go. Uglier as the game went on. Never not ugly.
In the beginning, there were a bunch of fouls and free throws (21 in the first quarter combined). And the game was without form, and void. But early on, Sacramento, unlike the Knicks, hit their foul shots (12-13 vs. 5-8) and their threes (3-4 vs. NY's 0-5). That was how the Kings snuck out to a 35-19 lead with such sneaky sneakiness, Tabasco Sneakings was eyeing them with envy.
And really...that was it. This game was over in 18 minutes, with the Kings up 56-27. Earlier this season, the Knicks, missing Carmelo Anthony, lost a tough game in Chicago. That was a night where losing felt brutal. Like, waking up to see a home-invader standing over you, putting up a valiant, hour-long, sweat-drenched muscle-burning struggle, and then, just as you hear sirens outside and realize the cops have arrived, the trespasser slips a knife between your ribs. Tonight's loss was like being really, really old, falling asleep one night, and drifting off into death. I cannot recall a more easygoing 20- to 30- to 40-point deficit. Ever. I was gonna go with hypothermia, but with hypothermia at some point you feel like you're warming up. The Knicks were cold all night -- 37% from the field, 18% on threes.
This was what I imagine it'd look like if an NBA team ever played a college team: an insurmountable, Malthusian blowout early, then an extended stretch where the pros lose interest and the amateurs get mercybuckets late. Except Sacramento kept coming. Even up 44, the Kings were chasing down loose balls, hustling, getting deflections, pushing the pace. I won't say the Knicks weren't trying. But whatever they were doing, the Kings were doing whatever you call it when you multiply trying by trying.
- In the first half, Cleanthony Early showed a beautiful post-up spin move that led to a dunk. If you were keeping score at home, that was one to put an asterisk next to. A minute later, Early committed a nonsense foul on Ben McLemore taking a three-pointer. Put an asterisk next to that one too, as in "things you never want to see again."
- Later, Cle got the ball at the top of the arc, drove to the hoop, went at DeMarcus Cousins, and drew a foul on Jason Thompson. I'm liking Cle's recent stretch drawing fouls and going inside.
- Cle also left a nice drop-off bounce pass for Langston Galloway, who drove and went down after a hard but clean foul by Cousins.
- Sacramento: 35 first-quarter points. New York: 39 first-half points.
- DeMarcus Cousins has one of the worst on-court demeanors I've ever seen. My sister never, ever watches basketball, and after two minutes watching him she asked, "What's his problem?" But as far as his game, and just watching him play, I enjoy Cousins so, so, so, so, so, so much. 22 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 3 assists.
- From the "Better to light a candle than curse the darkness" department: Shane Larkin had 13 points, 6 assists, and only 1 turnover.
- Early's now missed 12 three-pointers in a row and is 12 for 45 (27%) for the season. In John Wall's second season, he shot 3 of 42 (7%). Last year, Wall was 108 of 308 (35%). Hope springs eternal, Cle.
- There were 47 fouls and 67 free throws in this game. And it felt like even more than that.
- Alexey Shved scored in double-figures again. If you're into that sort of thing.
- 35 seconds into the quarter, after a Nik Stauskas driving lay-up (not a typo), Derek Fisher called a 20-second timeout.
On the Knicks' first second-half possession, Andrea Bargnani threw the ball away to Rudy Gay, leading to a Ray McCallum fastbreak dunk. On the Kings' next possession, Gay, alone in the corner with no Knick within 10 feet of him, drained a three. Fisher called timeout - 55 seconds into the second half. Somewhere, Dad's basketball gods' jaws are all clenched.
- In a game that was over for like 30 minutes: Lance Thomas = 21 minutes. Quincy Acy = 19. Travis Wear = 9. Please to explain?
- In the first half, Jason Smith was limping after a lay-up. On the next Knick possession, he looked totally comfortable handling the ball and setting a pick. I will always love that about basketball players at all levels. Playing offense is the panacea for all pains.
- Places your head goes on nights like this: was it be too much to hope that when Jill Martin interviewed Tom Hanks at the half, he'd be Bartha-level drunk and invite her to have a threesome with him and Wilson, the volleyball from Castaway?
- Late in the fourth, a "Tom Hanks!" chant went up from the crowd. I feel somehow validated.
"Golden Girls is on," Knickslexia wrote. God, I love that show. Speaking of nostalgia for better days, the Knicks begin a home-and-home with Indiana, starting tomorrow night. It's statistically improbable, if not morally impossible, that they'll play this poorly again. So really, tonight was self-sacrifice in the name of a better tomorrow. You're welcome.