Kings

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 113-92 win over Knicks at MSG

Kings takeaways: What we learned in 113-92 win over Knicks at MSG

BOX SCORE

Taking care of business. 

After picking up their first win of the season on Friday, the Sacramento Kings dropped the hammer on the New York Knicks Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. 

The boo birds came out in the Big Apple and “Fire Fizdale” chants filled the building as the Kings pounded the Knicks for a 113-92 victory.

Sacramento outshot, outrebounded and outhustled the home team on their way to their first road win of the season.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings made it two wins in a row to improve to 2-5 on the season.  

The Backcourt

De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield are heating up. 

Fox put on the jets and attacked the teeth of the Knicks’ defense. He struggled to hit his shots early, but once the ball started to fall, New York had no chance. In 34 minutes of action, Fox posted 24 points, six assists and one huge highlight reel block.

Hield found his long range stroke, knocking down 5-of-11 from 3-point range on his way to 22 points in 30 minutes. 

Team Rebounding

The Knicks came into the evening leading the league in offensive rebounds at 13.5 per game. The Kings came in as the league’s 24th best defensive rebounding team. This should have been an area for New York to exploit.

It was clear from the opening tip that coach Luke Walton had placed an emphasis on his team boxing out and hitting the glass as a squad. It worked to perfection and helped the Kings jump all over the Knicks on their home court.

Sacramento outrebounded New York by a final tally of 48-37 and they limited the Knicks to just eight offensive rebounds. 

Quiet Impact

Harrison Barnes isn’t putting up gaudy stats, but the Kings’ starting small forward is making an impact on the floor.

Against New York, Barnes finished with 19 points, four rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block in 39 minutes. 

With Marvin Bagley out of the lineup, Barnes has played major minutes at both forward positions for Walton. He ran a team-high +28 in the win.

Kings' De'Aaron Fox targeting return to lineup vs. Hornets on Tuesday

Kings' De'Aaron Fox targeting return to lineup vs. Hornets on Tuesday

De'Aaron Fox won't play Sunday against the Warriors in San Francisco, but the injured Kings point guard is close to returning.

"Right now, after talking to [the training staff], it could be as early as the Charlotte game," Fox told reporters in Sacramento before the Kings lost to the Knicks, 103-101 on Friday night. "I don't see it being as late as after Christmas, or even the Houston game right before Christmas. So right now, we're looking at between the Charlotte game and the Memphis game."

After making the drive down to San Francisco, the Kings head out on a three-game road trip. On Tuesday, they face the Hornets, followed by the Pacers on Friday. They finish the trip with a game against the Grizzlies on Saturday, Dec. 21.

Fox has been out since Nov. 11 when he sprained his ankle during practice. The team diagnosed him with a Grade 3 ankle sprain.

In Fox's absence, the Kings have gone 8-8, including Friday's fall to the lowly Knicks.

Offseason acquisition Cory Joseph has started every game since Fox got hurt and is averaging 5.7 points and 4.9 assists in 15 contests. Once Fox returns to the starting lineup, Joseph will move back to his bench role and lead the second unit.

[RELATED: Lack of intensity costs Kings against Knicks]

When Fox returns, the Kings will be fully healthy and should be poised to go on a run.

Kings' lack of maintaining intensity costs them game vs. lowly Knicks

Kings' lack of maintaining intensity costs them game vs. lowly Knicks

SACRAMENTO -- By the time the media arrived in the Sacramento Kings’ locker room Friday evening at Golden 1 Center, half of the locker room was already gone.

A few players stayed by to answer for the team’s disappointing 103-101 loss to the New York Knicks, but not nearly enough.

In classic Kings fashion, they went up big on a less than stellar opponent and then let off the gas. The victory by New York was just their sixth of the season against 20 losses.

“We took our foot off the pedal and let them come back and stick around the game when we had them kind of buried,” veteran Cory Joseph said.

In front of a sold-out crowd on their home floor, the Kings took a 16-point lead with 4:45 remaining in the third quarter. After a series of substitutions, Sacramento stopped moving the ball and settled for perimeter shots.

New York hit the Kings with an 11-3 run to finish the third to pull within eight points going to the fourth.

“We got up big and we just stopped doing the things that got us there,” Joseph said. “We stopped playing with that aggression and they out physicaled us down in the paint.”

The Knicks destroyed the Kings down low, outscoring them 56-32 in points in the paint, including an 18-10 advantage in the third as they tightened the game up.

“I’ve got to watch the film,” Marvin Bagley said. “They started getting easy buckets. I’ve got to go see what went wrong, but I really don’t know.”

The final 12 minutes was more of the same, except New York started to hit an occasional perimeter shot to help open the lane even more. The Knicks knocked down 4-of-8 from the perimeter in the fourth. Sacramento matched the number of makes with four, but they took 15 3-pointers in order to do it.

“We didn’t play enough of the 48 minutes to secure a win tonight,” coach Luke Walton said. “Give the Knicks credit. They knocked down shots. They made plays as that game went on.”

This isn’t the first time this season that the Kings have struggled against a beatable opponent on their home floor. They fell apart early in the season against the Hornets and then lost a game to the Chicago Bulls to open then December schedule. For a team with playoff aspirations, these are must-win games.

“Our guys were ready to play, we came out and were the aggressors, we built up a double-digit lead and then we didn’t do a good enough job of maintaining that type of play,” Walton said.

[RELATED: Walton suits up at Folsom to support criminal justice reform]

It’s back to the drawing board for the Kings. They’ll face another struggling opponent on Sunday when they travel to San Francisco to face the Golden State Warriors.

After playing in five straight NBA Finals, the Warriors are just 5-22 to start the season and they’ve lost three straight. Instead of playing to get back to .500, the Kings are 11-14 and back on the outside looking in of the Western Conference playoff standings.