SACRAMENTO -- Playing to the level of competition has been an issue all season long for the Sacramento Kings. They have beat some of the best teams in the league, but they have also messed around with a few cellar-dwellers and got burned.
The Kings led by double-digits most of the night, but they allowed New York to climb back in the game in the fourth. With the game on the line, it was a 5-20 Knicks team that made the plays and handed Sacramento a devastating loss on their home floor by a final of 103-101.
Julius Randle bullied his way to 26 points and nine rebounds. Elfrid Payton added 16 points off the bench to help New York pick up their sixth win of the season.
Here are three takeaways as the Kings blow a golden opportunity against a struggling Eastern Conference opponent and fall to 11-14 on the season.
After beating the Mavericks, Rockets and Thunder over the last three games, the Kings allowed a bad Knicks team to sneak up and bite them.
This is a common theme this season. Sacramento has the ability to hang with the best the league has to offer, but they’ve overlooked team like the Hornets, Bulls and now the Knicks.
A win would have put the Kings within a game of .500. Now they are once again searching for answers.
Buddy Hield is known for his ability to hoist the 3-ball, which he did plenty of Friday against the Knicks. He also showed off his leaping ability, hammering down a handful of dunks over the unsuspecting group from New York.
Buddy doing it all 👏 pic.twitter.com/7KYuV9CkcY— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) December 14, 2019
Hield torched the Knicks for 34 points on 14-for-23 from the field and 6-of-13 from long range. He added a career-best 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season and fourth of his career.
The Kings’ leading scorer has now strung together 10 straight games with 20 points or more.
The second unit struggled mightily and may have cost the Kings a victory. The Knicks rallied against the reserves to end the second and third quarters and they continued the trend to start the fourth.
All four players that came off the bench ran negatives in the +/- category, including a negative 12 for Yogi Ferrell and a negative 11 for Bogdan Bogdanovic.
The group is adjusting to the return of Marvin Bagley, but they have to find a way to keep the momentum in games.