SACRAMENTO -- It wasn't pretty. It doesn't need to be. The Sacramento Kings found a way to get back in the win column Monday evening at Golden 1 Center with a victory over the New York Knicks.
Sharpshooter Allonzo Trier posted 29 points and Dennis Smith Jr. scored 18 to keep the Knicks close throughout the night. But in the end, the Kings had too many weapons for New York to handle.
The 115-108 win helped the Kings keep pace with the Clippers and Spurs, who also picked up victories on Monday evening.
Sacramento snapped their three-game losing streak and moved to one game over the .500 mark at 32-31. Here are the positives and the negatives from the win.
Giles the Enforcer
Sacramento has taken the long and cautious approach to rookie big man Harry Giles. Their patience is now being rewarded.
The 20-year-old big has scored a combined 50 points over the last three games off the Kings' bench. With Marvin Bagley out with a knee injury, he has stepped into a scoring role and come up huge for coach Dave Joerger's squad.
In addition to his scoring, Giles has become one of the team's tough guys on the court. After a hard foul by Mitchell Robinson sent forward Corey Brewer flying to the floor, Giles checked to make sure his teammate was okay and then went directly to Robinson to have words. It was a veteran move by Giles and his teammates appreciate the support.
On the downside, Giles watched the final 5:07 from the locker room after getting called for a flagrant 2. He has a few things to learn, but he's quickly becoming another bright spot for the Kings.
The Knicks are a mess. They came into the night with a record of 5-29 over their previous 34 games and they are just 13-51 on the season.
While the Kings picked up the win, they have an issue playing to the level of competition. How does a team go toe-to-toe with the Nuggets, Warriors and Bucks, but leave the Knicks within striking distance until the final minutes?
They are young and this is the first playoff race for most of their players. They need to figure this issue out or risk dropping a few winnable games down the stretch.
Barnes Gets Comfortable
Sacramento thought they were adding another offensive weapon when they traded for Harrison Barnes at the deadline. The 26-year-old forward has struggled to find his niche on the offensive side of the ball for the Kings through his first eight games with the team, but that wasn't the case against New York.
Barnes hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter to get the ball rolling. He finished the night with 22 points on 7-of-13 from the field and 3-for-6 from behind the arc. In addition, Barnes grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds in the win.
The Kings don't need Barnes to average the 17.7 points he posted with the Mavericks, but they need him to keep the defense honest. While he's struggled with his shot, Barnes has been better than advertised as both a defender and rebounder.
Bjelica Makes an Impact
After an incredible start to the season, Nemanja Bjelica cooled off in January and February to a point where he was out of the rotation. With Bagley on the shelf, Joerger has turned back to the veteran and he's given the team a nice boost.
Bjelica finished the evening with a modest eight points, five rebounds and five assists in 23 minutes of action. He also ran a team-high plus-13 on the evening.
Having a floor spacer opens up everything for the Kings. Bjelica isn't the most athletic player on the squad, but he can have a major impact on the outcome of games as the Kings fight for a postseason berth.