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What we learned in Kings' encouraging win over Knicks

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SACRAMENTO -- Pop the champagne, the Kings’ skid is over.

In a gritty, grind it out game against a blossoming New York Knicks squad, the Kings played defense for four quarters and came away with a much needed 103-94 victory Friday night at Golden 1 Center.

Julius Randle bullied his way through the Kings’ defense for 26 points and 15 rebounds and R.J. Barrett added 21 points, but the Kings limited the Knicks to under 40 percent as a team and under 23 percent from long range. 

De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento with 22 and seven assists, but it was a team effort for Luke Walton’s crew.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings snapped their four game losing streak to improve to 6-10 on the season. 

Welcome back

After a strong start to the season, Harrison Barnes has struggled lately, averaging just 9.3 points on 31.4 percent shooting over his previous four games. It appears that his slump is over.

With the Knicks getting physical, Barnes gave them a taste of their own medicine. The Kings’ starting small forward went off for 21 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. 

When Barnes is acting as a secondary distributor on the court, the Kings are a much better team.

Coming for your job

Despite the losses, Tyrese Haliburton has made a tremendous impact so far this season for the Kings. It may be time to get him into the starting group, where he’ll likely stay for a decade or more. 

The rookie came out with an eye to score, putting up an impressive 13 points before the intermission. He even had a big time steal and breakaway.


In the second half, Haliburton seemed focused on setting up his teammates. While he finished with just two total assists, that’s more of an indictment on his teammates missing shots than the 20-year-old guard. Haliburton finished with 16 points, chipped in five rebounds, added a new career-best four blocks and two steals.  

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Making strides

Marvin Bagley played just 13 games last season and he didn’t crack the 82-game mark of his career until seven games into his third year in the league. He needs time on the court to gain experience.

Against the Knicks, Bagley struggled through a left wrist issue, but kept his head in the game. He was on the receiving end of a couple of bull rushes from Randle, but he made adjustments.

The only way to get experience is to go through it. Bagley finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and a block. The stats were solid, but the eye test says that Bagley is learning, even if he made some mistakes and fouled out late.