The Sacramento Kings are bad. Coming into Friday night, they had the worst net rating in the NBA. Their defense is historically bad. But the Knicks are not talented enough to overlook any opponent...certainly not on offense. Is that what happened, or were the boys in orange and blue suffering from playing the second night of a back-to-back? Either way, it added up to an embarrassing defeat. The 93 points New York scored was roughly 30 fewer than the Kings give up on average.
Let’s start with Elfrid Payton. He’s usually bad, but tonight he was a one-man catastrophe, shooting 3-12, failing to stay in front of De’Aaron Fox, and picking up 5 fouls. It actually should have been 6 fouls, but Tom Thibodeau simply would not let his guy Elf go quietly, and so he challenged a foul call late in the game. Rookie Immanuel Quickley wasn’t much better, shooting 3-9, but the Knicks still managed to outscore the Kings in his minutes. Of course, Thibs brought Elf back to close out the game, and though the Knicks cut the deficit to 2, a flurry of Sacramento buckets put the game out of reach.
Much will be made of the play of Tyrese Haliburton, who destroyed the Knicks down the stretch. Yes, they could have picked him in the draft. We will probably hear about it for the next day or so. It is what it is.
Benny will have the recap tomorrow morning. In the meantime, try to get some sleep.