NYC, New York- The Sacramento Kings entered Madison Square Garden for perhaps the very last time, as a move to Seattle next season seems all but eminent. In the aftermath of a 120-81 drubbing at the hands of the New York Knicks, the Kings may have wished that the snow outside the Garden had trapped them outside
Ahead by 12 points early on in the first quarter, the Kings control of the game would quickly spiral so far out of reach that they found themselves trailing by as many as 50 points, 110-60 midway through the fourth quarter.
The final outcome of the game was so lopsided that the Knicks’ bench out-scored the entire 11 man rotation used by the Kings by a tally of 82-81.
“Our bench has been pretty good all year,” said Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson. “If the first unit is struggling, you have to go somewhere to find it, but we have been fortunate enough to get good play off the bench.”
Led By J.R. Smith’s seven three-pointers and team-high 25 points, the Knicks’ bench was virtually unstoppable as Amar’e Stoudemire shot a perfect 10-of-10 from the floor for 21 points while sharpshooter Steve Novak knocked down five three-pointers for 15 points.
“When a team rains three’s, that breaks your spirit, and right away you’re going to drop your head,” remarked Kings’ head coach Keith Smart on how devastating it was to see the Knicks continue to hit from downtown throughout the game.
Three-point shooting for New York was so incredulous for Sacramento, that after it awhile, it appeared as if they were simply going to stand around and let the Knicks take their 43 attempts, of which New York converted 19 of them.
“Yup, the last time we played them [in Sacramento], we had a 27 point lead, and they used those three-pointers to get back in the game. This time around, we didn’t have that lead,” said Kings’ guard Isaiah Thomas on if he had ever been part of game with such a disparity of three-point shooting.
How the Knicks got so many shots off is testament to their game on the glass, as Tyson Chandler had a second consecutive night collecting 20 boards, as New York out-rebounded the Kings 52-30.
New York’s two big quarters, the second and the third, involved the Knicks out-scoring Sacramento 31-11 and 41-19.
“Just bad communication,” Said Sacramento forward Thomas Robinson [11 points, four rebounds] on the Kings defense, adding, “We got a couple good looks [on offense] but didn’t execute.”
As the Kings missed easy layups, turning the ball over 18 times, and walking around unawares of their surrounding, the highlight of the evening may have been not the futility of the Kings overall game, but when 40 year old Kurt Thomas [11 points] of the Knicks, a reserve best known for his hustle and mid-range jumper, made his first three-pointer on the season. At that point, the Garden went bonkers with chants of, “Kurt Thomas, Kurt Thomas,” filling the air the way MVP chants for Kobe Bryant have been heard at the Staples Center in L.A. on a nightly basis for the past 10 seasons.
Had anyone been told prior to Saturday night’s contest that six-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony would shoot 4-of-12 from the perimeter for nine points [snapping his 31 consecutive 20 plus points streak], chances are they would have predicted a Knicks loss.
After the events that unfolded at MSG in a 39 point win for the Orange and Blue, one can only surmise that stranger things have happened.
Strolling around the new sixth floor concourse were a straggling of fans dressed in green and yellow Seattle Supersonics gear, and perhaps still aglow over hearing that basketball will return to the Emerald City, they seem undeterred of receiving a team with a current record of 17-32.
Good luck Seattle.